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Mountains of the Moon 

Being an account of the modern aspect of Central Africa^ 
and of some little known regions traversed by the 
Tanganyika Expedition^ in i8gg and igoo. 


J. E. S. MOORE, F.R.G.S. 





All rights reserved 





It is unnecessary that I should refer here to the manner in which the 
Tanganyika Expedition was formed, or perhaps that I should refer 
again even to my own indebtedness, as a naturalist, to the gentlemen 
interested in African zoology who formed the Tanganyika Com- 
mittee, 5nd organised the explorations in Central Africa which I had 
the honour to command ; I have already dealt with these matters 
in the first chapter of this book. It is, however, perhaps advisable 
that I should here indicate the reasons which led me to dissociate 
the contents of the present work from those more purely scientific 
matters which will appear shortly in another volume. When I 
returned from Africa Professor Ray Lankester, to whom we are 
indebted for the inspiration and sustenance of the whole of the 
researches with which the two Tanganyika Expeditions have been 
concerned, suggested to me that I should incorporate all of these 
researches, together with the descriptive and geographical matter, 
and my own philosophical reflections, if I had any, in one book. 

Accordingly I set to work to see what could be done ; but the 
more I tried to think out a scheme of arrangement of all these 
matters, which would not make the chapters both unreadable to 
the general public, and irrelevant and nonsensical in the eyes of 
the scientific man, the more difficult the task became ; and I finally 
came to the conclusion that the problem presented by my desire 
to mix these different liquors in one glass, and yet make the 
draught either palatable or even desirable from a digestive point 
of view, was insoluble, at any rate for me. I therefore decided to 
write the present volume, which in one sense is the history of a 



journey, but of a journey during the lengthy course of which I 
came into possession of an immense mass of observations and 
general information concerning a series of extensive lands and 
territories, which arc acquiring an ever-increasing interest in the 
eyes of the public at home. For it may be remembered that we 
have heard our own possessions in the great African interior 
described as the undeveloped estates of the Empire, which are only 
waiting for the hands of the crowded-out population at home to 
till them, in order that the ancient forest shall at length blossom 
out into corn and wine. Well, it may be so, it may be otherwise ; 
but if I were one of the crowded-out, who thought of going to till, 
or pursue some other avocation for a livelihood in these regions, 
I should be very glad if I could get an unbiassed account of the 
country which I proposed to adopt — that is, an account of the 
general aspect and character of the African interior which I should 
not suspect of being either coloured with the enchantment produced 
upon almost every traveller by mere novelty, or with the more pure 
special pleading which is too often apparent in the writings' of those 
travellers who have been concerned with the administration or com- 
mercial development of these parts. Jelly-fish hunting, and the 
serious pursuit of whelks as a profession, will, 1 think, give me the 
necessary qualifications as regards bias, and therefore it would have 
seemed worth while to publish my own impressions of these 
promised lands on this account alone. 

But besides this, the serious pursuit of whelks led me of necessity 
over some areas in the centre of the Continent which had never 
been visited before, and I had therefore, w^ien I returned, a mass of 
geographical and descriptive material which had nothing to do 
directly with the Tanganyika problem, but which was by no means 
without interest in itself ; and lastly, there are certain results of the 
scientific investigations which are without technicality, and yet are 
at the same time of general interest, because, as I have explained 
in the first chapter, they completely change our views respecting 
the past history of this portion of the earth. On this account I 
have referred at some length to the very wide geographical changes 



which have occurred, and are occurring, among the lakes and water- 
sheds, owing to the persistence of the geological disturbances which 
have, among other things, formed the modern active volcanoes 
north of Kivu. So also in Chapter XXIII. I have dealt pretty fully 
with the extraordinary problem which is presented by the existence 
of natural park-lands, or apparently arranged gardens, in the African 
interior, places which at first sight suggest that the country must 
have been the playground of some race of landscape gardeners that 
has now become extinct. The substance of this chapter, and the 
figures which illustrate it, were in fact originally contained in a 
paper which I was asked to read, and did read, before the Linnean 
Society, and which, in the normal course of events, would have 
been published in the Society’s journal, and could not consequently 
have been repeated here. Someone however connected with the 
publication of this journal became — well, let us say temporarily — 
afflicted with a fit of officialism, under the influence of which he 
insisted upon the application of rules which do not exist in that 
Society respecting the form in which papers should be presented ; 
and I was thus enabled conscientiously to withdraw both the figures 
and the manuscript, and to publish them in their proper place in 
this volume. 

London y 

April 20 thy 1901. 

C O N T E N r S . 



The mystery of Tanganyika — Jellyfish are found in the lake — And are a Zoological 
anomaly — They appear to demonstrate the former connection of the lake with 
the sea — Formation of the first Tanganyika expedition — Results of this — The 
connection of Lake Tanganyika with the sea opposed to geological ideas — The 
shell-fish in the lake, however, are found to be similar to those which Have 
been left fossilised in the remains of the Jurassic seas — Reasons for a further 
expedition — Objects of the present work — The value of the interior with 
respect to the history of the human race— The rapid destruction of this value 
by the influence of civilisation i 


Cential Africa revisited — Chind6 and the attractions of the Delta swamps — 
Difficulties of transport — Into the Great River — Character of the inland 
marshes — Crocodiles and crocodile shooting — The Shupanga forest — The 
climate in the swamps — Its effect on Europeans — Physical characters of the 
Zambesi Valley — First appearance of the high interior — Blantyre as the com- 
mercial capital of British Central Africa — Detestable nature of the place — 

A toy administration and a toy Protectorate . . . . . . . 1 1 


From Blantyre to Zomba — To Lake Shirwa — The east coast of the lake — Water- 
fowl — ^The islands — Their detestable character — Fr?m Zomba to Lwondi — 
Crocodiles on the Upper Shire — Hippopotamus shooting on Lake Pamalombi 
— The old and new Fort Johnstone and the river swamps — The south end of 
Lake Nyassa — Into a new lake World — Monkey Bay — First view of the open 
waters of Nyassa — Rough weather on the lake — The gunboat Pioneer — 
Engineers and cabinet makers — Clearness after rain — Bird clouds and fly 
clouds — North from Kota Kota — Character of the Nyassa Valley j ' 


From Nyassa to the Tanganyika plateau — ^The trans-continental telegraph posts — 

The high interior — The Stevenson road — The new road — Certain aspects of 
African roads — The escarpments of the Nyassa Valley — Out on to the roof of 
the Continent — ^The high interior a hopeless wilderness after all — Some fea- 



^ PAGE, 

turers of Northern Rhodesia — The lonely upland forests — Ant hills in the 
Siessi Valley — The resthctic value of Northern Rhodesia — New fields for sports- 
men and painters 6o 


Uneventful nature of the journey up to Tanganyika — Different character of the 
journey after this point has been reached — Difficulty of advance from Aber- 
corn — We are kept twenty-one days for want of men to move the loads 
fourteen miles — The Tanganyika Valley — Individualities of the African Lakes 
— First view of Tanganyika from the south — Condition of the African Lakes 
Corporation’s store — A cockroach hunting engineer — Terrible heat of Kituta 
— The old mission steamer Good News — We visit the engine room and the 
agent becomes sick — An extemporised cylinder cover — Looking for a boiler 
maker on Lake Tanganyika — Our first view of the open lake — Strange shells 
and jellyfishes — Kingfishers and fish eagles — A bird whose habits were too 
regular 73. 


My first experience of navigation on Tanganyika — The chief prophesies a storm — 

I do not believe Him -Native boating songs — The chief’s wind turns up — 
Running before the gale — We decide to breakfast on shore and that “ there shall 
be no rAore sea ” — A strange fish — The Spirit mountains — Through the gates 
of Hell — Sambo goes in for marrying — The Arab Kabunda — He thinks I am 
as big a liar as Nassa Bin Hassim 93. 


The Good News — A Scotch boiler maker made sick — To Sumbu — We leave for the 
North — Into the great Lake — Fishing for bass — The engines of the Good 
News — We arrive on the East Coast of the lake — Individualities of our men 
— Omari Bin Omari — The Missionaries w’^ant curry powder — Meteorology of 
Central Africa 108^ 


Northward from Kerendo — Kigera and the compass — We again cross the lake — 

The Kibogo Mountains — We start for the outlet of Tanganyika — The 
Luakuga river and the older explorers — We examine the outlet of the lake 
and proceed to Mtoa — A European Cafe in Central Africa — We cross again 
to Masswa — Terrible weather in the open lake — Worse weather on the East 

Coast . 126> 



Ujiji — The Germans — The meeting place of Stanley and Livingstone — Change in 
the character of the country — Question of transport — Bin Seff Rachid — We 
leave Omari at Ujiji — The effect of the fall in the lake on the harbour of 




Ujiji — ^The women of Ujiji are not so desperately ill-favoured as*most of their 
sisters in other portions of the Continent — Characters of the Coast of Tan- 
ganyika North of Ujiji — We go to the North End of Tanganyika — Question 
of the Congo rebels — We meet Captain Haic after his victory at the Rusisi 
river — Fishing extraordinary — Central African river scenery — Bin Self’s 
methods of dealing with the men 138 


Still waiting for men at Ujiji — Sixty odd men are eventually raised and I march 
to Usambura — We start for the North — Districts between Usambura and Kivu 
— Tanganyika is found to hav'c once extended further to the North — We find 
fossils in the river cuttings — First sight of Kivu and the source of the Rusisi 
river — I rejoin Captain Bethe — A nearer view of Lake Kivu — Strange deposits 
on the lake shores — Desertions am ong our men — In conseciuence of w'hich the 
position Ixjcomes serious 153 


We make arrangements for the circu mnavigation of Lake Kivu — Unpleasant ex- 
periences with the canoes — First view of the great body of the lake — Dangers 
of navigating in dug-outs — A wonderful moonlight night — A naked thief — 
Sultans and Sultan taming — We apologise and depart— Up the East coast of 
Kivu and first sight of the Mfumbiro Mountains — We reach Ugoyi — Alpng the 
Northern shore of the lake — We are nearly sunk 163 


South again down the West coast of Lake Kivu — We lose a canoe and borrow 
another from the local Sultans — We are followed by the West coast men and 
they finally steal our canoes and those of Captain Bethe as well — Captain Bethe 
determines to punish the West Coast tribes — And wc start North again after the 
thieves — A Kivu storm— We sight the canoes — A chase among the islands — A 
detestable village — Difficulties aixmt the return t>f the canoes — We bear the 
recalcitrant Sultan off to Ugoyi . . . . . . . . .176 


At Ugoyi again — The Mfumbiro Mountains — Another storm — Our prisoner escapes 
—We set off once more for the North — A delightful country and a wretched 
people — One of our men is murdered by the adjacent tribes — Unpleasant 
attitude of the Natives — We retaliate and move towards the mountains — 
Nearer view of the great volcanoes — A nocturnal tumult . • ♦ • • •• *85 


My first attempt to ascend the great cone of Kirungu Cha Gungo — Stupidity of the 
natives — Over the lava fields and through the forests — Difficulties of the ascent 
— The mountain on this occasion gets the best of it — A second attempt — 




Through fhe forests — Elephants — View of the surrounding country from 
the mountains — Wc get clear of the forest — On the summit of Kirungu 
Cha Gungo 201 


Returning to the new camp — A wretched country — They cannot even Iniry their 
dead — Sitting on a rotten man — The new camp on the Northern slopes of the 
mountains — The view to the North — Complete change in the climate —The 
Mfumbiro District the key to the watersheds in Central Africa — Down into 
the sunshine — The people of the plains 213 


Into the great game country South of the Albert Edward Nyanza — African shoot- 
ing in general — We cross the desert steppes and are misled by our guides— We 
are deserted and left without water in the wilderness — Over the desert again — 

Wc finally find water in a village — Our general position not satisfactory — 
Character of Swhili p(jrters — Unpleasant ideas and customs — Erom which arise 
certain philosophical reflections . 227 


More desert marches— The men’s delight in meat — We ourselves are like 
Nel^ichadnezzar and become filled with a desire for grass — Difficulty of 
getting into touch with the natives — A pig-headed brute «)f a Sultan — More 
Sultan taming -Wc cross the Ruchuru River- Endless game -We reach 
Vichumbiso — Panic of the inhabitants — We get into communication with the 
people — And they finally provide us with canoes for our journey North up 
Albert Edward Nyanza 246 


Pelicans and fishes’ eyes — We reach an old Congo post — Character of the West 
coast of the lake — Invisibility of the Mountains of the Moon --The Semliki 
River, the outlet of the lake — The swamps on the North coast of the lake — 
Fever and storms — We reach Fort George — Extraordinary character of the 
surrounding district — Feigusson is very ill — The mountains arc still invisible 
— A midnight march — First news from Europe 262 


First view of the outer barriers of the Mountains of the Moon — I return to Fort 
George — Early explorations in the Mountains of the Moon — Important 
• questions t(f be solved in connection with them — These Mountains a long range 
and not one mountain — We march to Fort Jerry — First views of the higher 
portions of the range — They are shrouded in endless rain — Mr. Bagge’s boy 
tells us his experiences — I decide to explore the Nyamwamba Valley, but the 
rivers become unfordable and I finally cross the Wimi — First view of the Snow 
Peaks 274 




We reach the Mobuko river and find it also impassable — I therefore decide to follow 
the Mobuko river into the range — Elephants — We reach the Mountains — Our 
first camp in the mountains — A superb view — Native information — Into the 
heart of the range — Cold anti general discomfort — We decide upon our route — 

Into the higher passes — Into the heath forests — A terrible place — The upper 
valleys — Our camp beneath the crest of Ingomwimbi 28S 


Cold of the upper valleys — Discovery of glaciers on Ingomwimbi and 
Canyangogwi — We reach the glaciers — ^The natives and the ice — Ascent of the 
Northern snow ridge of Ingomwimbi — ^A solitary climb — Unpleasant ex- 
periences on the snow ridge 30a 


Some reflections upon the results of the journey — Complete change in our views 
produced by the evidence accumulated — Erroneous geological conceptions — 
There is evidence of enormous changes and instability in the African interior — 
Examination of those changes — The great central valley of the lakes and the 
central chain of mountains 309 


African Park -lands — The problem presented by the natural parks in the African 
interior — The existence of a park presupposes the existence of a landscape gar- 
dener — Absence of landscaix* gardeners in the history of Africa — Distribution 
of the natural parks — There is method in its madness — Probable solution of 
the problem "The formation of desert steppes — Relation of Euphorbias to these 
desert steppes and the formation of Parklands in connection with them — The 
seven lean kine eat up the seven fat kine — The origin of Park-lands shows that 
the interior of Africa is very impermanent and is changing rapidly at the 
present time 316 


Completion of the journey — Reflections upon the nature of the African native — He 
has good qualities — His views about women — He is hard-headed — Believes in 
ghgsls— His views about the universe and his mental attitude similar to those 
of modern European Agnostics— The native from a social point of view — He 
completely forestalls the modern socialists in their attempt to reorganise society 
— And like theirs, his morality resembles that of a poultry yard-«The native . 
is a serious object lesson to white men — General impressions of the high 
interior — Optimistic views of certain writers — Experience of the present 
journey — The commercial prosperity of these places a delusion and a snare — 
Origin of European faith in the interior as a colonial asset .... 32S 


Drawn on the Mountains of the Moon, from Katwi Plains, looking 

west Frontispiece 


View near Luandi on the Upper Shirt^ river with bananas stripped 

by ^Locusts . — From a Sketch by the Author .... 29 

View across Lake Nyassa, and the harbour of Kota Kota from the 

old fort at Kota Kota . — From a Sketch by the Author . . 36 

A bit of the east coast of Lake Nyassa near Nkata Bay . . *39 

A rough sea on Lake Nyassa, looking south from Karonga . — From a 

Sketch by the Author 41 

Outside the new fort at Karonga, at the north end of Lake Nyassa . 45 

Inside the new fort at Karonga, at the north end of Lake Nyassa . 47 

The track from Nyassa to Tanganyika, with the wire of the Trans- 
continental Telegraph in the foreground ..... 49 

View over the forests on the Nyassa-Tanganyika Plateau. The plain 
now covered with forest is the floor of a departed lake. 
Altitude 4,200 feet. — Fro^na Sketch by the Author . . *51 

A Chief of the Nyassa-Tanganyika plateau . . . . *55 

The City (!) of Kituta and the extreme South end of Lake 

Tanganyika . — From a Sketch by the Author . . . -57 

View of the west coast of Lake Tanganyika, south of Mpala, at the 

beginning of the rains . — From a Sketch by the Author . . 61 

Sunset and storm-clouds over Lake Tanganyika from the harbour of 

Masswa south of Ujiji . — From a Sketch by the Author . . 65 

View over Ujij} and across Lake Tanganyika, from the German Fort 

at Ujiji . — From a Sketch by the Author 69 

Storm-clouds, mountains and bananas from a point on the east coast 
of Lake Tanganyika, looking east between Ujiji and Usambura. 

— From a Sketch by the Author 77 

A Swahili porter and his load 79 



A native 

The long and the short of our escort through the German territory 

north of Tanganyika 

Omari-bin-Omari and Taratibu 

View from the north of Lake Kivu of the great active cone of 
Kirungu-cha-gungo and the numerous secondary cones along 
the northern shore of the lake . — From a Photograph 
A volcanic cliff on the north shore of Lake Kivu, with the western 
wall of the great valley of the lakes in the distance . 

A nearer view of the volcanic cliffs on the north shores of Lake Kivu, 

showing the stratification of the ash 

Aden paddles his own canoe north of Lake Kivu .... 

On the north shore of Lake Kivu 

The start at sunrise, north from Lake Kivu 

A camp in the famine-stricken country north of Lake Kivu 
View of the great active cone of Kirungu-cha-gungo, 11,350 feet. 
From a camp on the western slopes of Karisimbi at an alti- 
tude of 7,000 feet . — From a Photograph 

View over the clouds and of the extinct cones of Sabiin ai?d 
Karisimbi, from the summit of the active Kirungu-cha-gungo at 

an altitude of 11,350 feet 

View across the great valley of the Lakes from the northern slopes of 

the Mfumbiro Mountains 

Cannibals on the plains 

A village garden on the plains north of the Mfumbiro Mountains, in 
the floor of the great valley of the lakes ..... 
Men cutting up a Hartebeest on the plains south of the Albert 

Edward Nyanza 

Men cutting up game on the great game plains south of the Albert 

Edward Nyanza 

Fergusson follows game and drinks ....... 

Belts of Euphorbia forest on the plains south of the Albert 

Edward Nyanza 

Euphorbia forests south of the Albert Edward Nyanza . ^ . 

Omari loading the native punts at Vichumbi, to the extreme south of 

the Albert Edward Nyanza 

Albert Edward punts 

Crossing deep water in an Albert Edward punt .... 
Crossing the Albert Edward Nyanza to the west coast 



























In mid ocean i6i 

Landing on the west coast of the lake 165 

The pebble beaches of the west coast of the Albert Edward Nyanza 

and old water-marks 167 

The lake shore 171 

Punters resting and drinking under the great slopes west of the 

lake 173 

The steep west coast of the Albert Edward Nyanza. The western 

side of the great central valley of the lakes . . . .177 

View on the west coast of the Albert Edward Nyanza . . *179 

Hot and still .181 

Pelicans on a sand-spit on the north coast of the Albert Edward 

Nyanza 184 

The source of the Semliki river 186 

View of the north of the Albert Edward Nyanza from Katwc (Fort 

George) 187 

Native callers sitting in the sunlight at the gates of Fort George . 189 

Parading the men and the loads at Fort George . . . .191 

The salt la]^e at Katwe 193 

Lake Ruisamba and the Katwe plains 195 

Afternoon tea on the road to Fort Jerry 197 

Euphorbia trees on the Katwe plains . . . . . .199 

Elephant Camp and the southern spurs of the Mountains of the 

Moon 203 

Another view of Elephant Camp 205 

Camp on the road to Fort Jerry, with the outer ranges of the Moun- 
tains of the Moon 207 

Scene in the lower forests on the Mountains of the Moon . . 209 

Forest and moss at 10,000 fe^t 215 

View in the bamboo zone on the Mountains of the Moon . . 219 

Portions of the central peaks of the Mountains of the Moon from 

the bamboo zone 221 

Crossing the heath forest in the Mountains of the Moon . • 225 

In the upper part of the Mobuko valley, in the Mountains of the 

Moon 229 

The snow summit of Ingomwimbi 233 

The northern snow ridge of Ingomwimbi 247 

View of the small glacier between the northern snow ridge of Ingom- 
wimbi and Kanyangogwe 253 


The broad glacier on the northern snow ridge of Ingomwimbi . .259 

A nearer view of the men sitting on the ice ..... 265 

View of the central portions of the range of the Mountains of the 

Moon . — From a Sketch by the Author 267 

In a papyrus swamp 271 

Papyrus heads 273 

A native path on the way to the Albert Nyanza . . . *275 

•Camping ground near the Albert Nyanza 277 

Euphorbia and bush clump near the Albert Nyanza . . . -279 

The east shore of the Albert Nyanza 283 

A rocky harbour among the islands on the Victoria Nyanza . . 285 

Another view of the rocky coast 289 

•Sunrise and departing storm-clouds on the Victoria Nyanza . . 295 

The wreck of our dhow on the Victoria Nyanza . . . .297 

The wreck of our dhow on the Victoria N3'anza, another view . .301 

•Over the great Nyanza swell 305 

Semi-diagrammatic illustration of the formation of “Park-lands” . 321 

•Omari on his way home ......... 333 

Nearing the east coast of the Victoria Nyanza 340 


Lake Tanganyika Face 72 

The Great African Lakes Page 341 

Tanganyika, to the Mountains of the Moon . . . End of Index 



“ What have we here ? A man or a fish ? 
a fish ; a very ancient and fish-like smell.” 

Dead or alive ? A fish : he smells like 
— Tempests 

There is a wearisome kind of person who, when anybody 
has been anywhere or done anything, is always ready to 
ask what useful end such work subserves ; and lest any 
such worthy should have the misfortune to be tempted to 
peruse these pages further, I hasten to tell him at once 
that he will find no sort of answer to his queries from the 
beginning to the end of this book. On neither of the 
lengthy journeys, during which I had the good fortune to 
travel over a very large portion of the African interior, 
were we primarily in search of anything that is of the 
slightest use to anyone, or ever will be. In both cases we 
went to find out something more about the Tanganyika 
region, which was, and still is, a mysterious place ; and 
both journeys, though they have occupied between them 
several years and cost a good many thousand pounds, 
grew in reality out of nothing bigger than a jelly-fish. 
They were sinall, poor little jelly-fish at that, each about 
the size of a shilling and nearly as flat, with delicate ten- 
tacles all round their rims, and a mouth nearly as big as 
their bodies. They had come to Oxford* all the way from 




Tanganyika in a bottle, to raise a discussion touching their 
nature and origin, which is still vigorous, and over which 
the last word will not be said for many a year to come. 
The potentialities for zoological discords which lay in these 
strange little gelatinous discs, arose from the fact that, if 
we except the star-fishes, and the sea-urchins and the 
corals, no animal is more typical of the ocean than a jelly- 
fish ; in fact, the Dutchman who negotiated for the sale 
of his farm when he found herrings in the ditches, 
because he inferred that the sea must be leaking 
through the dykes, would probably have put it up to 
immediate auction had jelly-fish appeared as well ; but, 
notwithstanding the strange improbability of the thing, 
here were undoubted jelly-fish which had been obtained 
by the missionaries in Lake Tanganyika, which is a 
fresh water lake 2,700 feet above the sea, and in the 
very middle of the African Continent. How they got 
there, and whether there might be other marine 
organisms in the lake, and to what past episodes in the 
history of Africa the existence of such animals might bear 
testimony, if they were found, could of course not be 
conjectured at the time. The only evidence of any 
significance which could be collected lay in the fact that 
there were, more or less forgotten, in the galleries of the 
British Museum, certain shells which had been obtained 
by Captain Speke, during Burton’s celebrated journey to 
Tanganyika. Some of these shells were not like fresh 
water shells, but they were very like many forms habitually 
living in the sea, and thus, from a zoological point of view, 
the district of Tanganyika, as an emphatic zotologist put it 
to me, literally stank of something interesting and new. 
It therefore appeared desirable that some naturalist should 
go to Tanganyika, and through the kind support of Pro- 



fessor Lanlcester, the Royal Society eventually made the 
necessary grants for the undertaking, and I left England 
in 1895, returning in 1897. This was our first Tanganyika 
expedition, and as a result of it we found that the original 
problem of the jelly-fish had in no wise been solved ; it 
had, in fact, grown enormously bigger and more difficult, 
for I found that in Lakes Nyassa and Shirwa there were 
no jelly-fishes, nor anything except purely fresh water 
forms, while in Tanganyika there were not only jelly-fish, 
but a whole series of mollusca, crabs, prawns, sponges and 
smaller things, none of which appeared in any of the other 
lakes I then knew, and all of which were more or less dis- 
tinctly marine in type. Further than this, however, I 
found none of these strange marine-looking animals could 
be compared directly with any living marine forms, yet in 
their structure they certainly seemed to antecede some of 
these in the evolutionary series, much as a kitten may be 
said to antecede a cat, or a puppy a full-grown dog. They 
appeared to belong to some former age, and just as a tad- 
pole, if it is kept in a glass vessel and not fed, will remain 
a tadpole indefinitely, so these strange animals appeared to 
have remained from some remote period as they were, cut 
off in Tanganyika from the sea. 

One definite result of this first expedition, therefore, 
appeared to be that the sea had at some former time been 
connected with Lake Tanganyika, but when or how re- 
mained a mystery. The whole thing was most perplexing, 
and particularly so because this apparent demonstration 
which we had obtained, of the former extension of the 
sea into the very heart of Africa, was opposed to some 
cherished geological ideas. The difficulties of offering a 
tenable explanation appeared to be almost insuperable, and 
I felt inclined while discussing the matter before the Royal 




Society after my return, to suggest as the b&st working 
hypothesis that Sinbad’s “ Old Man of the Sea ” had found 
a last refuge in the lake, and that the crabs and the prawns 
and the jelly-fishes were sticking to him when he came up. 
This would at any rate have accounted for their serial 
transmission, and have got rid of the necessity for a con- 
nection with the sea altogether. 

The impression, however, to which I have pointed 
above, that the marine animals in Tanganyika must be 
very old, eventually bore fruit. I remembered having 
been struck, while still on the shores of the lake, with the 
fact that the shells were curiously similar to some other 
shells either living or extinct which I had already seen 
elsewhere ; and after searching among the conchological 
representatives of the different geological eras, I found 
that this peculiar character, this distinctive facies, as the 
geologists express it, presented by the Tanganyika shells, 
was again presented by the fossil remains in the beds of 
the old Jurassic seas, that is, in the marine deposits of a 
little later date than the English coal. The correspond- 
ence between these living shells in Tanganyika and their 
long since extinct Jurassic counterparts is most extra- 
ordinarily complete, and something of its nature may be 
gathered from the figures given in my paper “ On the 
Hypothesis that Lake Tanganyika represents an Old Jurassic 
Sea,” published in the Quarterly Journal of “ Microscopical 
Science,” vol. xli., where the living and the dead shells are 
represented side by side. If will thus be seen that a 
considerable number of shells in Tanganyika correspond 
specifically with shells that have been left m the ddbris 
of the Jurassic seas in Europe, and which up to this 
time had been supposed to have become wholly extinct ; 
and it will be seen further that this correspondence 



gives us at once a possible solution of the whole Tan- 
ganyika mystery. The strange animals, the jelly-fishes, 
the mollusca, the sponges, etc., which appear in Tan- 
ganyika and apparently nowhere else, may be regarded as 
a relic of the time when the lake basin was in connection 
with the sea, and consequently filled with representatives of 
its ancient fauna. Moreover, the date of the lake’s con- 
nection with the sea which this latter supposition necessi- 
tates is so remote, that it can, with a little squeezing at 
any rate, be made to fit in with the revised notions of the 
past history of the continent ; and it has this great merit, 
that it gives a rational explanation of the matter without 
the intervention of either .Sinbad or his old man. 

But although in this manner we reached a tenable 
hypothesis respecting the nature and origin of the jelly- 
fish and other marine inhabitants of Lake Tanganyika, 
it was very obvious that much remained to be done ; we 
did not know, for example, whether there were marine 
organisms in any of the other great lakes, Kivu, the 
Albert Kdward, the Albert Nyanza, the Victoria Nyanza, 
or Lake Rudolph. Neither did we know anything of the 
geology of Tanganyika, nor of the districts north of it as 
far as the Albert Nyanza ; whether there were marine 
deposits extending from the lake, and thereby con- 
spicuously exhibiting the direction of the connection of 
the old basin with the sea. Moreover, the districts north 
of Tanganyika, through Lake Kivu as far as the Albert 
Nyanza and including the Mountains of the Moon, were 
an almost complete terra incognita from a geographical 
point of view ; and thus a further expedition in this direc- 
tion was to be recommended on zoological, on geological, 
and on geographical grounds, and it was these three wants 
with respect to the African interior which eventually 



became the motive for the formation of a new expedi- 
tion. It was organised and despatched under the auspices 
of a committee of scientific men in England which was 
formed by Professor E. Ray Lankester, F.R.S., who acted 
as chairman, and was composed of Sir John Kirk, 
G.C.M.G., Sir William Thiselton Dyer, K.C.M.G., Dr. 
P. L. Sclater, P'.R.S., and Mr. Boulanger, F.R.S., and I 
had the honour to be appointed to command the expedi- 
tion in the spring of 1899. 

Of the technically scientific results of this latter under- 
taking, I do not, however, in the present volume intend 
to say more than is necessary to make the motives of our 
journey intelligible, and to give interest to certain parts 
of it which might otherwise seem purposeless. The 
details of these matters will be discussed in another book. 
In the present, I have the much more easily obtainable 
ends in view, which arises from the fact that all journeys 
that have been followed far into the interior of unknown 
countries have, besides their original object, a value 
hardly less real or important in the knowledge which 
they bring to light of the physical individualities of the 
regions through which they pass. For to every region in 
the world there is an individuality peculiar to itself, which 
stamps the place and stamps the people in it, like the 
individuality which overspreads the Italian Campagna, 
and which so many artists and men of letters have 
attempted to delineate, or the singular individuality of the 
quiet deserts, with their intense colour and their shadow- 
less wastes of sand ; so again there is an individuality, 
or, if you will, a being which pervades th^ melancholy 
moorlands of the north ; and no less are there other and 
equally attractive types of country almost innumerable in 
the rich warmth of the great African interior. Nowhere 



else in the world have we such an expanse of land under 
the tropics, or consequently so many combinations of 
physical features under conditions which are utterly unlike 
anything occurring in temperate climes, and yet how little 
has been done to make the nature of these places really 
tangible to Europeans, among whom one generally finds 
the idea prevailing that all Equatorial Africa is a desert- 
like expanse of very yellow sand, covered with palm trees 
and antelopes. In what follows, therefore, I have simply 
attempted to look closely at the countries as they are, 
to smell them and taste them, and live over again for a 
time in the warm, luxurious winds of their boundless 

Yet, further, it will be seen on looking at our route 
on the map, that we covered a very large portion of the 
equatorial interior, and as we did this of necessity in a 
somewhat slow and leisurely manner, looking for what 
we could see, we had almost unique opportunities for 
becoming sometimes painfully acquainted with the virtues 
and the shortcomings of an immense hitherto almost un- 
known area, an area which is, however, gradually assuming 
greater and greater prospective importance in the eyes of 
the people at home. This country, the high interior of 
the African Continent from the north bank of the Zambesi 
river to the sweltering swamp lands of the Upper Nile, is 
in fact at the present moment one of the great apples of 
the world’s eye, and the representatives of the different 
countries have for some years vied with each other in 
their efforts to beg, borrow, and steal portions of its 
already thiclcly populated districts for their respective 
governments. The question of the strange dusky peoples 
who already inhabit these territories and their rights 
therein have never been discussed, and, until they turn 



some other colour or disappear altogether, probably never 
will be. But for all that, it is apparent to those who 
have seen through the glamour which surrounds the more 
or less unknown, that these same dark peoples have a 
sort of divine right to their possession, in virtue of their 
immunity to malaria and the other incidentals of a tropical 
climate, which the white man may find it difficult to over- 
come. Thus the coveted apple of the African interior, 
though coloured with all the hues of its tropical sky, and 
cooled in places by waters from its everlasting snows, is 
after all somewhat of the nature of Eve’s, and the attempted 
digestion of it by Europeans may lead to the discovery of 
evil properties, showing that the fruit is a forbidden one, 
except for certain kinds of men. In this way, beyond 
their original objects, journeys in the remote interior of 
Africa, that have no political or commercial objects, have 
also a certain value, in that they afford a means of giving 
an unbiassed account of these countries as they really are, 
by means of which, if the Author does his duty, anyone 
can form for himself an idea as to what can or can not 
be made of them ; while above and beyond this merely 
useful aspect, they afford, as I have said, to those who 
will never be there, a more or less distinct view, and a 
more or less real knowledge, of great countries which 
have remained as they are now for centuries, crowded 
with barbaric human life. 

Nowhere, at present, can one so completely realize the 
melancholy attributes of the past history of mankind as 
in the little African villages, where the people are still 
living among the wild elephants, hippopotami and great 
reptiles, and chopping their firewood with similar axes to 
those that were used in the prehistoric ages of Europe. 
Nowhere is one more profoundly awed by the gigantic 



shadow of the past, and not let down as it were gently 
into the lapse of time by the recorded history and ruin of 
man’s works, as in these countries which have no history, 
except that which appears in the scoring and denudation 
of their lonely mountain masses, and the formation of the 
endless plains of alluvium at their base. To those who 
know the country, moreover, there is an endless fund of 
humour in the untutored savage, which should not be lost ; 
yet even now his original character is rapidly passing away 
before the introduction of more familiar ideas, like that of 
the aboriginal Australians, over whose degeneration and 
decay my friend Professor Spenser has lately so eloquently 
lamented. It is indeed extraordinary with what smug 
complacency the so-called emissaries of • European light 
and learning can sit down to utterly destroy in these 
countries that which is of the utmost value to the under- 
standing of our own early history, and which, after it is 
once gone, will never be seen on this earth again. Un- 
fortunately the native assimilates only far too quickly 
European customs, until he is no longer of any interest 
to anyone, except the local magistrate before whom he 
constantly appears. In his own life he has the attributes 
of antiquity, which make him both funny and genial even 
in his grim brutality, and thus the native and his country 
together form a combination which has fallen like a spell 
and made an indelible impression on every traveller who 
has come under its inlluence. So strong indeed is the 
vision of the remote past which the human features of 
the interior call up, of that which was once even here in 
Europe, bift which is now utterly forgotten, that the 
traveller emerging from it back into the hurry of modern 
life is for a time “as one who has been stunned and is 
of sense forlorn.” 



In the following chapters I have therefore endeavoured 
to give some impression of this, the only country which 
could produce such an effect, and which in its beloved 
original savagery is rapidly and for ever passing away ; 
for we must remember that even a few years hence some 
of the dark, slumberous forests, where the monkeys and 
the turacoos screamed over the first white man they had 
ever seen as we passed beneath, may soon be desolated 
by the noise of mining camps and the abominations of 
tin shanty settlements ; so also the genial naked savage, 
who gave us his milk and his goats and his corn, will be 
turned by the missionary and the young administrative 
gentleman into a pauperised black in breeches, sans virtue^ 
sans vice, sans everything. 



“ and so wc sat and sat 

And talked old matters over ; who was dead.” 


At last, on the 8th June, 1899, we finally crossed the 
surf-swept bar of the Chinde river and came to anchor in 
the quiet water just within the river mouth. It was the 
third time I had visited the place, yet 1 still found some- 
thing keenly interesting in the remote delta haven ; for 
although it is in no way particularly beautiful, it has formed 
the starting point or the end of a large number of African 
enterprises, and it is also the last resting-place of more 
than one well-known African pioneer. Stairs among them. 

The wretched little town is a collection of tin and mud 
huts, scattered along the southern bank of the river, which 
is not the Zambesi, by the way. but a branch of it which 
wanders off by itself and opens by a separate mouth. Sea- 
ward there is a strip of bright green marsh, bounded by low 
dunes of blown sand, while inland the dark, swiftly-moving 
water of the river is bounded by a dense fringe of sullen 
grey-green mangroves, and beyond these again rise the 
heads of the great Borassus palms, marking the dryer 
places in the inland swamps. 

Chind6 haS nothing but sand to rest upon, and the sand 
is so soft and shifting, that in the three years since I was 
here before, the old consular buildings and a tennis court 
had been completely washed away. From the steamer’s 




boat one steps on to a shore of deep, black, sticky mud, 
and from this the fiery sunshine extracts a peculiar heavy 
marshy smell, and there are no roads ; but, as in the old 
days at Beira, planks placed end to end serve for footpaths 
from house to house. At whatever time one lands there is 
no question that Chind^ is hot and damp, and the sky from 
year end to year end has the dark unchanging blue only 
sometimes rivalled on a hot day in Southern Europe. It 
has, moreover, the same peculiar cloud- shapes for ever 
drifting across it, clouds that in the rainy season gather into 
sullen thunder squalls that disappear as quickly as they 
form. At such times the miserable native huts and the 
European shanties are suddenly shut out by a thick veil of 
blank rain, only as suddenly to reappear glittering and 
.steaming in the floods of fiery sunshine which follow the 
storm-clouds as quickly as their shadows. 

By night, however, the fireflies and the moon enchant 
the place, turning the drunken little camp, for it is nothing 
more, into a strange fairyland of still, blue light and clouds of 
floating sparks. The air grows cool and pleasant, and over 
the shrill chirp of the grasshoppers and frogs, there comes 
the slow booming of the great ocean on the .sand without. 

It is to this little sweltering tin-roofed hell, buried in 
the swamps of the Zambesi, that the river steamers come 
down, chiefly laden with sick Europeans, who have 
succumbed more or less completely to the deadly fever 
of the interior, and always at Chinde one meets a 
number of pale anaemic people, who are waiting to get 
away lest they swell the ranks in the neat little 
cemetery outside the town. It is on this 'account that 
Chindd has got its evil reputation, although in reality 
it is not nearly so unhealthy as the inland districtsi 
but people wrecked by the interior have too often 



come down to it to die. To anyone who has never 
been in a fever-stricken country the first sense of the 
presence of this unseen foe, the feeling that everywhere 
in the sunny scenery there lies hidden a mysterious evil, 
is somewhat exhilarating, and you closely examine the 
ordinary-looking ground, the bright green strips of marsh 
land with their flowers, and bees and dragon flies, to see 
in what it is this hidden thing may lie. But after the 
glamour of novelty has departed, Chinde gradually settles 
down into a place of gloomy memories, of uncomfortable 
and sweltering actualities, and generally into a place from 
which it is well to hurry away. It is, however, by no 
means so easy to get away from Chindd as one might 
suppose. In our own case, the baggage of the cx])cdition 
had been landed together with about seven hundred tons 
of cargo, chiefly European stores and provisions, and all 
this stuff was piled in a great heap inside the fence 
of the African Lakes Corporation Limited, and so be- 
fore it could be sorted out I had ample time to wander 
about among the surrounding swamps, and for this I 
was not sorry, for if there is one place more interesting 
than another it is a maritime African swamp. One can 
enter them in a boat, pushing as far as possible up 
the questionable filthy creeks until the boat grounds, 
after which it is necessary to climb out over the eerial roots 
of the mangroves, on to a flat, black, muddy apology 
for land just on a level with the high-water line. The 
place is a sort of wood, the trees forming a gloomy 
screen to the sunlight, and their bare trunks stand like 
endless rows of dusty pillars above the ground, which 
is covered with scanty filthy grass, like the bristles on 
a pig’s back, and about a foot high. The ground is alive 
with crabs — on every inch there is a crab, the smaller 




ones cracking under your feet as you walk — big crabs 
and little crabs, symmetrical crabs and asymetrical 
crabs, brown crabs and black crabs, and crabs with 
one arm as big as the rest of their bodies, which they 
keep most brilliantly coloured and polished, sometimes 
crimson, sometimes green, and sometimes blue. They are 
all terribly afraid of each other and the intruding stranger, 
and rattle and scuttle along sideways over the mud in every 
direction. But there are other things in these dim, hot 
mud forests besides crabs ; between the grass stalks and 
between the mouldering tree trunks are tough sticky 
webs, in the centre of which hang large fat-bodied spiders 
waiting for the flies which buzz about the trees and over 
the dead fish in the creeks, where also amongst the mud 
are grotesque little live fishes, which walk about on their 
front fins, with their eyes on stalks, and which rejoice in 
the euphonious name of Periophthalmus. The air has 
a sickening graveyard smell, and everywhere, clinging to 
the underside of the leathery leaves, there are huge 
mosquitoes with long legs striped brown and white. 
Again on the trees, cemented to the twigs, are strange 
little truncated shells, which are not snails, but contain 
semi-aquatic molluscs, and in the creeks among the fish 
which flop over them and about them there are huge 
Potomids lying about like fir cones in the slimy mud. 
These molluscs are very interesting in some ways, for 
their structure is similar on the one hand to the Melanias, 
a fresh water family of molluscs, and on the other to 
the CyrithidcB, which are wholly marine. They therefore 
represent what is probably one of the stages by which 
the marine Cyriths were converted into the freshwater 
Melanias, for they live in both salt and fresh water in the 
swamps as the tide rises and falls. 


From the charm of the swamps and their peculiar fea- 
tures, I had eventually, however, to return to Chindd and 
the confusion which I had left there on the hot beach, to 
see what progress had been made for our departure, and I 
found, as I rather expected, that this progress amounted to 
nothing at all. The whole of the cargo lay still pile;d in a 
great heap hopelessly mixed, and as two river steamers 
were starting up stream next day, I requested the local 
manager of the African Lakes Corporation to lend me 
someone who could help me to sort out the two hundred 
and fifty odd loads belonging to the expedition. This 
individual was forthcoming in the shape of a young 
Scotchman, who arrived in a frame of mind more jovial 
than was to be accounted for by the surroundings, 
and which from a certain huskiness in his speech had 
evidently proceeded from a liquid source. He brought a 
number of lazy grinning niggers with him, and I pointed 
out that if the loads were moved in a certain manner we 
could see where our things lay without the trouble of sort- 
ing the whole vast heap. So we began, and were getting 
on better than I expected, when the Scotchman disap- 
peared, to return in a short time more bland and pleased 
than ever, and with all coherence of speech departed. 
It was curious to watch the effect of his potations on the 
natives. They knew quite well he was drunk, and would 
do nothing but laugh when he told them to “ timinusa ” 
everything, by which I think he meant to say in their own 
language “ turn everything over.” And so he spent the 
greater part of the hot afternoon, alternately maudlin in 
the sun and*then relapsing into paroxysms of inebriate 
wrath, in which he bawled at the men to “timinusa” so 
frantically that everything got once more into confusion, 
and by 4 p.m. the muddle was as complete as when we 

i6 TO THE mountains OF THE MOON. . 

Started. I therefore lit a pipe and went down the river 
to see Captain Sharier, who was with some of the new 
Yaw troops, and all the way, getting fainter and fainter, 
I could hear explosions of “ Timinusa ! Timinusa, you 
devils! Timinusa, won’t ye?” from my Scotch friend on 
the beach. 

Eventually, on the day but one following, we did get 
away with all the loads belonging to the expedition in two 
iron barges lashed one on either side of the steamer. We 
left in the afternoon, and there is something always 
strange and unexpected in the sudden change which comes 
over everything as the steamer leaves the coast. A new 
world gathers round the little jangling craft ; with the same 
suddenness and completeness as did Childe Roland’s plain 
after his interview with the cripple. Only the blue sky 
and the monotonous sunshine serve as a connecting link 
between the ocean world without and the continental world 
within. In fact, no sooner has the steamer passed the 
fringe of mangroves which stand like warning sentries 
before the mysteries of the interior, than the river and 
the whole world assumes the very character of the in- 
terior itself. The dark-coffee coloured stream glides 
silently past the great river banks, which are now no 
longer muddy, but covered with tall yellow grass and 
draped with a variety of brilliant convolvuli, bushes and 
trees. Over these again rise the long slender stems of the 
Borassus palms, with their heads bending and clattering 
in the warm breeze, while ever and anon appear great 
baobab trees, their sausage-like limbs hideously stark and 
bare against the sky. On all sides opeif evil-looking 
creeks full of tall reeds, lake lettuces and water lilies, and 
in the course of the stream itself strips of bright yellow 
sand run out from either bank. At first sight these sand- 



banks appear to be covered with nothing but a few reeds 
and tufts of grass, but after a while it is noticed that there 
are other things lying about on them which are akin to 
neither. These bodies are scattered in groups along the 
sand as if they were trees felled in all directions by some 
frantic woodsman, very long ago, for they are all rotten- 
looking and moss-grown, and covered with green weed. 
As we come nearer, however, these logs display extra- 
ordinary properties, for one by one they begin to move a 
little this way and that, and then glide with a strangely 
stealthy quick wriggle into the water, so that when the 
steamer passes within close range, there arc only one or 
two great crocodiles sleeping more soundly than the rest to 
mark the place where the school, or herd, or what you will, 
once lay. 

Crocodile shooting is an attractive diversion on a 
journey up a river such as the Zambesi, for although they 
are quite easy to hit, it is not at all the same thing to hit 
them in such a way that they drop where they are shot, 
and do not wriggle down into the water and get away. 
Most people, I believe, have an idea that crocodile skins 
are difficult to pierce with bullets, but I have never found 
this to be the case. On the present Journey I shot several 
with split bullets from a *303, and if the shot was properly 
placed, the huge brute simply curved once or twice rigidly 
from head to tail and then lay quite still. Once on my 
former journey up the Zambesi, while the steamer was 
tied up at a little village on the bank, I came across 
a crocodile asleep on a sandbank round a corner in 
the stream, ^nd I fired three shots at it before it 
stopped wriggling off towards the shore. The first 
happened to be a solid bullet, the second a soft-nosed, 
and the third a split-cased Jeffrey bullet which 1 had 


placed in this order in the magazine. When I approached 
the brute, blood was flowing from its mouth and it ap- 
peared to be dead, but when I began to move it by 
the tail it suddenly opened its huge jaws and made such 
a sounding snap in the air that I thought it advisable to 
leave it for a time to get really dead, before examining 
where the bullets had gone. When I returned it was quite 
limp, and I found that my three bullets had all entered 
about the right shoulder. The solid military ’303 had 
bored a clean hole from the shoulder through everything 
to the lower part of the neck, on the left side, and had 
there passed out through an aperture about an inch in 
diameter. The fate of the two expanding bullets was, 
however, very different : the soft-nose, becoming flattened 
out on the head of the scapula, had smashed the bone 
and had lodged in the upper part of the left forearm ; 
while the split-cased bullet had splintered wholly to 
pieces, its fragments flying in all directions like those of a 
shell ; one of the pieces of nickel casing was even in the 
roof of the mouth, having flown through the throat and 
tongue after its first impact on the shoulder blade. 

It was already night before we reached the end of the 
Chinde river, and as we ran out of it the vast Zambesi 
appeared like a boundless sea in the still flood of moon- 
light that bathed alike, the gleaming water and the dark 
features of the distant swamps. Night on the river at this 
time of the year is deliciously cool, even chilly at times, 
and it is almost impossible to realise that the scene is in 
one of the most pestilential districts of the whole world. 
In the cool season mist often envelopes the lower reaches 
of the river before dawn, and when we woke on this 
particular occasion the scene had narrowed to the grey 
indistinct outline of the barges, and the bank to which 



we were tied, the thick cold mist having wrapped all else 
up in its white malarial pall. 

Shortly after reaching the Zambesi proper there appears 
on the left a low forest-clad rise, and among the trees on 
the river bank there are a few tin roofs painted a brilliant 
red. These roofs mark the site of Shupangu. It is a 
somewhat interesting place ; for the river has here made 
a deep cutting, and along the exposure the substratum is 
seen to be composed of conglomerates and old coral, so 
that it appears that this place was once on the sea coast. 
Moreover, the rising ground is covered here with gigantic 
forest, real primeval forest, and not the scrubby apology for 
it one so often meets with in Central and East Central 
Africa. On penetrating a few miles inland the huge trees 
are found fallen in all directions ; those that are down laced 
to the trunks still standing by creepers, and in the still, hot 
aisles between their lofty stems there is the deep gloom 
of the true primeval forest, and also its peculiar smell ; 
it is a strange mixture of crushed leaves, rotten leaves, 
earth and green mould, all blended together and mixed 
with the scent of flowers and the odour of toadstools 
and mushrooms. There is, moreover, an intense damp 
heat in the forest by day and a dense clammy fog by 
night, which wraps its dark gigantic features up in a thick 
impenetrable hush. 

One realises here, perhaps for the first time, the poten- 
tialities of the tropics as manufactories of the products of 
putrefaction and decay, and of that peculiar combination of 
a hothouse and a graveyard which so much of the low sea- 
board of tropical Africa presents. Here, too, one finds that 
the fresh sea wind has gone for good, that the heat is very 
damp and enervating, and that it is a distinct effort to walk 
even with the genial and hospitable French Fathers to their 



monastery, a few hundred yards beyond the beach. More- 
over, on reaching this point on the Zambesi it is also 
apparent that mosquitoes have arrived, not by twos and 
threes as at Chindd, but by hundreds everywhere — in the 
trees, on the grass, on the steamer, and always inside the 
mosquito nets in the cabins, their shrill music keeping one 
in a state of restless wakefulness throughout the greater 
part of the hot night. 

If it is not foggy, morning breaks over the vast delta in 
an intense hush, which .seems to cling like the shadows and 
the dew to the surface of the swamps ; the east becomes 
brilliant, and the tall Borassus palms stand out in fantastic 
attitudes against the brightening sky ; but all between — 
the pale sheets of water, the flat expanses of yellow and 
green grass — are still, and for an appreciable time remain 
wrapped up in the great shadow of the earth. This time 
is of the gods, but unlike them it is short lived, and 
almost before one has grown accustomed to the light 
the sun is up and fiery, and thenceforward it is the 
pitiless brazen tropical day. One thing that is always 
extraordinary near the Equator is the force of the early 
sun. No sooner is this baleful luminary above the 
horizon than his rays strike sideways like a brickbat, 
slanting under awnings and into cabin ports, and sweep- 
ing the whole world with a yellow fiery flame. In these 
low countries, from sunrise to sunset there is no remis- 
sion of the heat, the sun goes higher in the sky, and 
roofs and awnings become of more avail as protection 
against his rays ; but as the sun rises so does the tempera- 
ture of the atmosphere, until by noon the river has become 
transformed into a colourless, shining, oily vapour bath, with 
the blue air arched above, and the sun-shrunk little steamer 
churning in between. Out of this universal heat and glare, 



as one passes on, come occasional glimpses of the land 
beyond the river banks ; there are great trees standing 
contemplating the black shadows round their feet in wide, 
park-like expanses of yellow sun-scorched grass, and here 
and there are little groups of delicately-limbed buck, 
their heads raised above the grass and their ears pricked 
towards the steamer as she lumbers by. 

So day passes on the Zambesi from year end to year 
end, in sweltering glare and wretchedness unspeakable ; 
only now and then is the brazen glare of the heaven 
above overshadowed by ominous thunder clouds, from 
the centre of which jjour deluges of black rain ; or there 
is no rain, and the dry rattling vegetation of the river 
banks is swept by dust storms and sudden tornados of 
fiery wind that follow the shadows of the clouds. 

Towards evening on the fourth day of our journey we 
passed a sugar plantation, and the French manager and 
some of his staff came down to look at the steamer and hail 
her captain and engineer. These men did not look well ; 
they had a played-out, yellow, bloodless aspect, and, like all 
the European dwellers in the Zambesi valley, seemed 
utterly worn out, their old vitality all gone through the 
inroads of a still mysterious disease. Everywhere sooner 
or later the white faces in these districts tell the same tale of 
the continuous assaults of fever, sometimes in the form of 
isolated attacks, sometimes as remittents, sometimes as 
ague, sometimes in the deadly form of blackwater, the worst 
of all. These things, and the pathetic scraps of local 
history which one hears at the settlements and forts, give 
a very enduring impression, that the Zambesi valley is not 
a white man’s country ; it is, in fact, as I heard it graphically 
described by an inhabitant, “’Ardly fit, sir, for a self- 
respecting dawg.” 



The valley of the Zambesi extends like a great wedge 
far into the interior to the west, and, together with the 
valleys of its upper course, seems to form a vast natural 
divide between what may be termed temperate Africa to the 
south and tropical Africa to the north. About a hundred 
miles up the stream, the Shire river enters the Zambesi as 
a broad, navigable river, about the size of the Thames at 
Westminster. Like the Zambesi the Shir6 winds its lower 
course through wide swamp lands, which form another V 
stretching in a more northerly direction as far as the 
first highlands of the interior. As the steamer ascends 
this stream there come into view, over the flat broad 
expanses of brown, yellow and green marsh, at last 
hills ; their outline is rocky and .steep and they are 
covered with little trees, and in the dry season of a 
soft brownish purple colour. They rise abruptly from the 
vast swamps in successive ranges one behind another, 
toward the north and west, all forest-clad to the top and 
presenting the most strangely picturesque silhouettes 
against the raw blue sky. Though forest-clad, these 
hills carry a very different sort of forest from that of 
Shupanga ; there is here little soil, and what there is is 
more or less annually swept away by the torrents and 
floods of rain, which pour off their steep sides for more 
than six months in the year. The trees are small, stunted, 
and rarely old, averaging about the dimensions of a forty- 
year oak at home. They are at all times shadeless, and in 
the dry season as leafless as a young English copse in 
February. The abrupt transition from the river marsh-land 
to this fringe of wooded hills is very curious ; in one place, 
where the stream bends round a sharp spur, the swamp on 
the right-hand bank abuts directly on the hill beneath the 
leafless trees, and the forlorn waste of reeds and mud, 



lying against the beautiful, crisp, wooded hill, is as 
incongruous to our European eyes as an iron foundry 
would be in an English park. 

Just as we pass suddenly from the world without into 
the swamp world of the Zambesi, so wc pass abruptly 
from this into the hill country of the interior. The 
river swamps contract into narrow strips of sloping park- 
land, which are bounded by the hills on either side the 
stream. The river itself also becomes more like the rivers 
of temperate climes, and in many places the great dark 
trees about its banks make it look really very like the 
Thames at Wargrave or some such place. It is, in fact, 
as if we were to enclose such familiar scenery with the 
wild rugged outline of high wooded hills against a balder, 
and a bluer sky. 

After passing Port Herald and Chiromo, both adminis- 
tration stations in the British Central African Protectorate, 
the steamer eventually pulls up for good at a place called 
Chikwawa, immediately below the first of the successive 
Murchison cataracts, which effectually bar all further 
progress up the stream. Chikwawa has a deservedly evil 
reputation, and, outside the shady administrative enclosure, 
has the most forlorn and woe-begone ajipearance imagin- 
able. The ground is whitish baked river mud, in which 
there are innumerable holes, filled with foul water and harsh 
reeds. The banks of the river are of the same bare 
crumbling mud, and the land is covered with scanty coarse 
grass, alternating with clumps of scrubby trees and patches 
of green, stinking marsh. In the bald hot sunshine the 
whole place looks “ desperate and done with,” and towards 
the north this unsavoury plain is shut in by the hills of the 
Shird highlands. 

To reach there from Chikwawa it is one long day’s 



march, over a new road which winds up over the hills, 
and shortly after leaving the plain one meets a traction 
engine, of which great things were expected ; it was 
put together on the river side, but it never negotiated 
the steep gradients of the road. It is, however, an ill 
wind that blows nobody good, for it forms now an ex- 
cellent place for clouds of hornets and their nests. A 
little further on there is a rest house, belonging to the 
African Lakes Corporation Limited, in which they 
liberally supply the unwary traveller with tinned provisions 
which have long since grown too old to be disposed of 
in the Blantyre market. One small tin of jam which I 
bought there had been in the country eleven years, and its 
contents had the appearance and consistency of putty. 

Blantyre is reached about sundown, and the place is said 
to be, and perhaps is, the commercial capital of British 
Central Africa. At any rate it is a place where there are 
stores, which supply the coffee planters and the mission- 
aries and the administrative agents, and any other unfor- 
tunates who may be in want, for the cash which they bring 
from England. Nothing, so far as I have been able to 
ascertain, pays to export, with the possible exception of 
coffee, and with respect to this product there are diverse 
opinions afloat. Whether it has ever paid as a product is 
difficult to say. The crop seems to be irregular, the rains 
are also, and I have heard more than one planter say that 
any money which has been made out of coffee has been 
made by selling old plantations to new comers who were 
inclined to speculate. 

Blantyre is three thousand feet aoove the sea, and the 
air feels deliciously cool after the heat of the river ; there 
is, moreover, a certain charm in the forest-clad hills which 
look down on the little town. The place itself is, however, 



detestable, with all the worst features of the now so well- 
known tin shanty settlement, where you eat goat and 
tinned horrors and have nothing to do, and where there is 
a good deal more than the ordinary gossip of an English 
village besides. The roads are bad, and the horses which 
have run the gauntlet of the fly belts, in the low country, 
for some reason all gradually assume the appearance of 
animated hair trunks. There is no game within a day’s 
march. The surrounding forests are hopelessly monotonous 
to anyone but a botanist or a bug hunter, and they are not 
particularly good for these. The great height of the 
country makes the climate cool and even cold, but for all 
that fever is very prevalent ; it attacks everyone in the 
place ; it even assailed the members of the malarial 
commission in their own quarters, on a little hill. Over 
everybody — and this is one of the most detestable features 
of tropical Africa — there is a sense which lies like a 
blight, that men who are here to-day and ought to live 
long, may not be here to-morrow ; and it soon becomes 
very obvious to the disinterested looker-on, that the white 
is here making a terribly uphill fight against conditions 
over which he has as yet got no control. 

This I know is not the opinion which is generally held 
at home. We have argued from analogy, that as Ceylon, 
etc., have become healthy after colonization, so will the 
African interior ; and further, since a great portion of the 
more remote interior is very high, we have assumed that 
it is healthy already, and only requires opening up to form 
an excellent ^dumping ground for the surplus population 
of European towns. 

When the British Central African Protectorate was 
taken over, England made herself responsible for the 
government and well-being of a black population in an 



area about the size of France ; and four years ago, when I 
first visited the country, the attempt to bring order out of 
the ancient chaos in this place was being vigorously made 
by my kind friend Sir Harry Johnstone, and on returning 
I found that the order which he inaugurated had extended 
over a great part of the protectorate, giving one the im- 
pression of a civilised home built on a powder barrel. 

Though pleasant to look at, especially from the distance 
of the arm-chair politician at home and the dreamer after 
new Utopias, these toy governments, which in several 
places in Africa have now as it were been clapped upon 
the backs of the much administered and much enduring 
black, have after all an aspect of utter unreality about them 
which cannot be shaken off. The forces of dissociation and 
destruction, latent in these old races that we seek to im- 
prove, and which have again and again reduced their own 
national organizations to chaos, still smoulder on, and 
wherever they are held in check by a conquering white 
race, and order is forced temporarily upon the unstable 
interior hordes, such districts at once become threatened 
by all the horrors of our worn-out civilization in an acute 
form. Safety brings an influx of destitute and defeated 
tribes, and the spectre of pauperism follows over-population 
as surely in these wildernesses as it does in London or 
Chicago. The old impasse of famine is indeed already 
beginning to present itself as a thing to be reckoned with 
in the future of our African possessions, in the same way 
that it has in India, and from the same cause. When the 
starving black and the starving Indian appealed to their 
own gods, the gods were of brass and wood, but when 
the same Indian and the same black inform a supreme 
government that they are not only starving but partially 
Christianised, what is a supreme government to do "i 



“ Then came a bit of slubl)ed ground once a wood, 

Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth 
Desperate and done with : 

— Brown iNO. 

From Blantyre to Zomba it is forty miles or thereabouts, 
and there is a good road all the way. The inhabitants 
think no end of it, for it is a real road, and not a blazed 
track, or what Americans call a dirt track. It runs 
through a picturesque country, beneath great rocky moun- 
tains, where there are open grass patches and clear 
brooks leaping over stones like an English trout stream. 
The whole country looks singularly European : there are 
the .same woods, the same fields, the same great shady 
park trees, all exactly as in our own European vegeta- 
tion ; but when closely examined, every single component 
of this mimicry turns out to be something quite different 
from its European analogue, not even the grasses and 
the ferns are similar to those of Europe ; indeed, if one 
wanders for miles through this curiously English scenery, 
there is hardly a weed or a flower or a tree specifically 
similar to those which, by living in the same way in 
Europe, produce the same scenery. There is, moreover, 
a deep unfathomable blueness in the sky and a gorgeous 
massive whiteness in the clouds, that in endless ranks 
sail steadily across it, quite different from anything in 

2 $ 


regions nearer home ; while even about the seeming trout* 
streams, we find the willows replaced by groups of rafia 
palms, with leaves clattering in the wind, sixty feet high, 
and out of the midrib of which you can make a light pole, 
strong enough to carry a man in a hammock when he is 
tired or sick. 

The road through this cool and pleasant country — cool 
because it is so high, and pleasant because it is like 
the European scenery with which we are familiar — ends 
under the great mountain mass of Zomba, which rises 
above the surrounding forests to a height of about 
seven thousand feet. It is beneath one of the steep 
wooded faces of this mountain that the administrative head- 
quarters of the B.C.A. Protectorate have been established 
for some years. The picturesque old Residency, which 
reminds one of the Chateau of Chillon, was built by 
Consul Hawes and afterwards embellished by Sir Harry 
Johnstone, who added a beautiful tropical garden, with a 
long green lawn of dop grass and an aviary full of ducks 
and geese. 

The mountain of Zomba commands a superb view over 
the Shirwa plain. This plain is bounded to the south by 
the towering mountains of Mlangi, and to the east by the 
detached mountain masses in the northern portion of the 
province of Mozambique. It is really continuous on the 
west with the old lake deposits of Lake Nyassa, and there 
is very little doubt that the Lujenda river originally 
sprang from the intensely salt waters of Lake Shirwa, 
which now occupy the lowest portions of this plain. 

I have always had a kindly feeling towards Lake 
Shirwa ; it was the first great African lake which I ever 
saw, and its water, which appears like a gleaming streak 
over the dark forest-clad plains around Zomba, is one of 

\Fr<nn a Sketch by the Author, 



the many beautiful features which make up the sublime 
views obtained from that administrative camp. From this 
civilised oasis in the wilderness, Shirwa is about two days’ 
march, through a country which is at first thickly wooded 
and hilly, but afterwards gives place to open park-land and 
then to plains of yellow sun-scorched grass. Over these 
plains as one nears the lake several steep rocky copjes 
appear, covered with dark forest and contrasting strongly 
with the yellow expanses of the plain. There is a good 
deal of game on the lower and more remote portions of the 
plain, and near the lake itself there appear typical marsh 
trees, such as the yellow-stemmed acacia and the eternal 
borassus palm. During my first expedition I visited 
Shirwa in company with one of the Zomba staff, and on 
the second day we camped near the lake, on a patch of 
low but tolerably dry ground, where there was a village, 
and as the sun set literally clouds of mosquitoes rose, 
filling the profound gloom which was gradually wrapping 
us up with a faint murmur, like an undertone of the lake 
surf which we could now hear distinctly breaking on its 
shore. Early next morning when the east was still 
savagely red, we set off again, and about seven o’clock 
reached the actual shore of the lake. The wind was 
freshening from the north, and the lake surface was ruffled 
into sheets of crisp dancing water, which broke in white 
surf along the yellow and pink sand-bars that ran into 
it beyond the belts of reeds. Straight before us rose a 
rocky island several hundred feet in height, and separated 
from the land by about half-a-mile of open water, while to 
the right of *it there appeared an endless sea of reeds. 
Everywhere there were hundreds of water-fowl, flocks of 
ducks paddling about among the reeds, together with spur- 
winged geese, and cranes and storks of every description. 


They were not in the least afraid of us, and I shot one 
large goose and several ducks, with a '303 rifle, before they 
made any attempt to go away. We had approached the 
lake at this spot because Major Forbes had left a boat 
there a year or two before, in charge of the chief living on 
the island, and by dint of much gesticulation we eventually 
succeeded in attracting the attention of the islanders, who 
put off in this and some dug-out craft. They were a wild- 
looking lot, with .shaggy hair greased into pipes, like those 
of a black French poodle when it is undipped. When the 
boats arrived we crossed over to the island, and a group of 
the inhabitants picked up the loads, tents, etc., and we set 
out for the other side of it, so as to be able to get a view 
over the lake and decide upon our route. Though beau- 
tiful to look at, this island turned out to be a fearfully hot 
place ; its lower slopes were covered with dark red rock, 
among which there was much porous black lava, which 
radiated the heat for all it was worth ; among the rocks 
there were some huts and some patches of roughly culti- 
vated ground all terribly dusty and sun-scorched ; indeed, 
the whole island had the same ancient barrack-stove 
appearance which has been so aptly used to describe Aden. 
On the terraces of the rock above us there were immense 
baobab trees, the trunks of some of them more than three 
yards in diameter, and as they grow on every ledge of 
rock to the top of the island, the weird aspect of the place 
may be imagined. On reaching the east coast of the 
island, however, Shirwa completely changes its face ; in- 
stead of the pretty outline of the sparsely wooded island 
there now faced us a limitless expanse of ’thick, whitish- 
green water, over which the blue distant mountains sat like 
shadows on a confused glare of mirage reflections above 
the surface of the lake. The immediate shore was of 



impenetrable black, stinking mud, and immediately beyond 
it a sea of reeds stretched far out into the salt water of 
the lake. The day had become dark and blue with a 
few gigantic cloud-shapes moving slowly over the great 
mountains to the south, and boding later deluges of 
rain. In fact, the contrasts visible from where we stood 
were extraordinary ; on the one hand there were the green 
trees and dark-red rock steps of the island, looking for all 
the world like some enchanted garden bathed in the sun- 
light of a fairy tale, while on the other side lay the loath- 
some beach of the lake, its mud trampled into innumerable 
cakes that glittered in the fierce sunlight, and beyond 
this the endless reeds and water, forlorn and flat, and 
dancing with fiery heat as far as the eye could see. 
Only in one place was the pale, hot monotony of the 
water broken, far away to the north-east, where a solitary 
steep and apparently utterly barren rock ridge rose above 
the mirage and was hull down below the waters of the 
lake. It was yellow and seared by the sun and the rain 
like an island in the Red Sea, and to it we determined 
to go, for we should then see what the open lake was 
like, whether it was deep and what fishes were in it. 
But here, for the first time, the native character obtruded 
itself among the decisions of the white man, and I 
thought it would end in our wild-looking islanders re- 
fusing to go at all that day. The boat was rowed with 
paddles, and the paddles were the property of individual 
men. They had each been made by a particular method 
and of a particular design, and each was bedevilled in a 
particular way, so that no man could row without his own 
paddle, nor yet without going away among the villages 
and hilts to ask what his step-daughter’s sister thought 
of the white man’s ears, and whether it would rain the 



week after next. Moreover, the ladies of the island had 
taken violent fancies to some of my men and the forcible 
separation of these couples led to the most tragic scenes, 
besides causing the chief to interview us solemnly con- 
cerning the amorous disposition of our porters, and 
generally to talk to us after the manner of a father. How- 
ever, after a great deal of hot fuss and a great shouting 
at the top of everyone’s voice, which lasted for three 
mortal hours, we did eventually get away in the boat and 
two canoes, amid a clamour beside which Babel must 
have been a quiet and domestic scene. Every soul on the 
island stood on the beach, and men and women shouted at 
the utmost power of their lungs as long as they could hear 
the boats' crews shouting in return. It was terribly hot 
in the boat, and as one’s deafened senses returned, we 
found that the reeds extended for miles, shutting out what 
wind there might have been. So wide indeed was the 
belt that we did not get into the open water before eleven 
o’clock, and as we passed out between the patches of 
waving stems, which bent to the slight swell and rustled 
along the side of the boats, we disturbed hundreds of 
pelicans, which glided away from the clamour of the boat- 
men, while numberless bare-headed storks solemnly re- 
garded our approach in rows among the reeds. When we 
got into the open water the wind freshened and there were 
quite big waves on the shallow, warm, thick salt water of 
the open lake. They were big enough at any rate to in- 
spire the chief s son, who was in the boat, with a most pro- 
found respect, for he enquired repeatedly, if in the white 
man’s country I had ever seen waves like these. I told him 
we had, and he pondered the matter deeply, taking quanti- 
ties of snuff, after which he said we had better go back, for 
the island would keep getting further away the further we 


went, but we smiled sweetly at him, however, and con- 
tinued to go on, when he became melancholy and silent. I 
think he was rather sea-sick, as a matter of fact. It was, 
however, a very long pull, much further than we had thought, 
and the sun was already low in the west before the actual 
coastline of the island showed itself in a line of low dusky 
bush. When we came near this shore, evening had already 
sunk over the strange watery wilderness around us, in 
truly tropical depths of purple and gold, and long before 
we reached the rocky coast of the island, that now loomed 
up steeply ahead, the heat of the rocks themselves could 
be distinctly felt like that of a stove, although we must 
have been more than a mile from the shore. As we drew 
near, the people on the island answered the boatmen’s song 
with a wild chant, and we linally landed amongst the dusky 
outlines of rocks and scraggy trees. The natives were 
a poor-looking set, more like the gargoyles on Notre 
Dame than anything else ; tliey carried torches of dried 
wood, and the island was the very hottest and most 
detestable place I ever set foot upon. An old man led us, 
panting and perspiring, up the steep rocks, which were five 
or six hundred feet in height, and all the way the ground 
stank of fish and other things unspeakable ; in fact, there 
was no room to step amongst human filth of every dtiscrip- 
tion, and the • stench on the top of the island was not 
unlike but surpassed that of Gorgonzola cheese. 

Among the dark outlines of the trees which grew on the 
top of the island there were a number of huts, and among 
these, we foppd a place for a tent where the ground 
seemed the least animal in consistency, and sat down in 
the hot dark to wait till our food was cooked, amid a circle 
of strange black shining forms that crouched upon their 
haunches and regarded us in the firelight, or flitted about 

3 * 



among the trees. I had not been there very long, how- 
ever, before it became apparent that some large active 
thing was inside my breeches and there was another down 
the back of my shirt. I sat on, however, in a cold sweat, 
for I dare not move. Presently there was a loud yell from 
my companion, and I found that he too had become aware 
of the presence of .strange things inside his clothes. He 
was more courageous than I was, however, and pulled out 
a great cricket about two inches long, with a shining bald 
yellow head. The i^lace was swarming with them, and 
when they got entangled in one’s clothes they pinched with 
great vigour. Just at this time, moreover, for some 
reasons best known to themselves, locusts descended on 
the island. They must have been flying across the lake 
before it grew dark, for they now fell pelting like huge 
rattling hail-stones, into the tent, on to the ground, into 
one’s face, into the soup, while they bounded up from the 
ground like jack-in-the-boxes whenever one moved. We 
were not comfortable, and the discomfort of this detestable 
little island increased the later it grew ; clouds gathered 
over the dark starry sky, and after lightning had played 
fantastically over the mountains in the distance for some 
time, and reflected itself in every colour under the sun on 
the surface of the lake, rain fell in torrents. We tried to 
sleep, but the locusts and the crickets and* the fleas and 
native dogs were as anxious to get out of the rain as we 
were and crowded into the tent, and it seemed after a 
time that every creeping thing that creepeth upon its belly 
had gathered round us. 

At the first gleam of light I therefore left the tent and 
went out to see what the island was like. It was merely 
a steep hog’s-back of rock, with a little vegetation on the 
top, trees like oaks growing in the scanty soil ; the heat and 



the filth were beyond all words, and there was no re- 
mission of either, even down by the lake shore, nor 
yet in the holes which the natives dug to collect fresh 
water a few yards from the beach. I had intended to 
stay some days on the island, but there appeared to be 
no fishes of any interest in the salt water of the lake 

A bit of the East Coast of Lake Nyassa, near Nkata Bay. 

while the few water-snails which inhabited it were similar 
to those in Lake Nyassa. The place itself was unendur- 
able and we therefore left the same day, returning to 
Zomba, where I vowed I would never go near Shirwa 
again, and I never have. Still it is not worse than many 
other places in the great dark continent which surrounds 
it, but its horrors were new to me then and had not, as 



they have now, become staled by custom into commonest 

The road from Zomba to the Upper Shir6 circles round 
the great mountains and then descends through a steep 
pass into the plains bordering the river. On the present 
journey we reached Zomba on the 26th of June, and 
after some delay, with great exertions, with prayers and 
threats and promises, by dint of help from the Adminis- 
tration, from the African Lakes Corporation, and two 
labour contractors from Blantyre, we did eventually get 
all the loads away and down to the Upper Shire at 
Lwandi, and on July 8th I left Zomba myself and my 
kind host, Mr. Sharp, just as the grey dawn was breaking 
through the heavy white mists, in which the dark gigantic 
forms of the Zomba and Mlangi Mountains were wrapped 
up. I reached Lwandi in the evening, and crossed over to 
the fort which lies on the other side of the river. The 
place is built in a great expanse of marshy land flanking 
the stream, and has an evil reputation as far as fever is 
concerned. The Shire is here a broad sluggish stream 
of very dirty water and full of crocodiles, which not only 
devour the fish in the river but also the natives themselves, 
especially the women, when they come down to the river 
for water. It is on account of this that they are in the 
habit of making circular fences of bamboos, lashed to- 
gether with bark, through which the water can enter, but 
not the crocodiles ; but they generally let these defences 
fall into disrepair, whereby they are converted into 
peculiarly effective man, or rather woman traps, for the 
wily crocodile, getting in through the broken-down fence, 
lies in wait inside, pretty sure that his prey will come. 

It is a curious fact that the crocodiles of the Upper 
Shir^, and indeed elsewhere, sometimes use their tails 

A roug^h sea on Lake N3’’assa, looking South from Karonga. 



when attacking a native or a drinking antelope ; they swim 
nearer and nearer their intended victim with their long 
heads just above the water, and looking for all the world 
like an old log of rotten wood. When they have ap- 
proached near enough they suddenly turn, and with a 
sweep of their tail flick their prey many yards into 
the water. So great is the force of this blow that the 
animal is generally smashed or stunned before the reptiles 
attempt to drag it down into the river, where they often 
keep their prey for days hidden away among the reeds. It 
is extraordinary to what circumstances people can become 
used. Among the natives no one thinks more of a man, 
or especially a woman, being taken by a crocodile, than we 
should to hear that a friend had died of pneumonia ; 
besides, the natives’ estimate of people is somewhat 
peculiar. One of the head boys on the Nyassa gunboats 
had a wife taken by a crocodile, and my friend Commander 
Cullen, who was then new to the country, was much con- 
cerned about it, till the man informed him it was one of 
his oldest wives and really did not matter much. 

From Lwandi' northwards to Nyassa, the Shire river 
winds through a great flat, similar in all respects to those 
of the Zambesi which we have already seen. There is, 
however, more forest bordering the river and a greater 
profusion of tropical growths. These beautiful park-like 
plains are one of the richest game countries in the whole 
of the British Central African Protectorate. On my 
former visit, at a place called Mvira, I saw in one morning’s 
walk several groups of zebra, some water buck, and eight 
koodoo. It was, however, at that time the hot season, 
and the whole appearance of the country was strangely 
different from what it was as wre hurried through it on the 
present journey. On this trip, as we passed up the river 



on the gunboat by night, the wind was as cold as it is on 
an English October evening. There was the same blue 
frosty look in the air, and the bold outlines of the river 
banks were wonderfully beautiful and unreal, for the atmo- 
sphere seemed to magnify everything, the trees looking 
gigantic, half wrapped up in smoke-like mist. The water 
of the river was intensely smooth and black, only every 
now and then ruffled by crocodiles as they lumbered off 
the bank ; a succession of gleaming rings marking the 
places where the reptiles sank. With the exception of 
these crocodiles and one or two huge silent-winged owls, 
there was now no sign of life of any sort in the misty 
moonlight wilderness. A few miles beyond Lwandi the 
river widens into the shallow expansion known as 
Lake Pamalombi, which was at one time undoubtedly a 
portion of Lake Nyassa, but which is now merely an ex- 
panded sheet of water in the middle of a great swamp. 
It abounds, or at any rate it used to abound, with hippo- 
potami, and on my former journey we had a magnificent 
day’s sport among them here. I fancy it was the biggest 
hippo shoot that was ever obtained on the Shird or any- 
where else. The gunboat Dove only drew about four feet 
of water, and it was easy to head a number of hippopotami 
off into some shallow creek, from which they could not 
pass except at close range, when they received a volley 
from the four rifles on board. We killed eight or ten in 
the afternoon, and so loaded the little craft with meat and 
skulls that she refused to steer. As the carcases of the 
great beasts floated ashore the natives came down like 
jackals gathered round a dead ox, and ate" till they could 
eat no more, and then rolled on the ground, like the 
proverbial child after a debauch of sour fruit. 

Beyond Lake Pamalombi, which is exactly the shape of 



a sheep’s stomach, the river narrows again and extends as 
a broad stream from thence to its source in Lake Nyassa. 
This part of the river abounds with fishes, and also with 
fishermen ; there are a variety of carp and characinids, 
the latter very like salmon, and capital sport with a spinner 
or spoon bait. The natives themselves use nothing but 

Outside tlie New Tort at Karonga, at the North of I^ake Nyassa. 

immensely long seine-like nets, which they drag across 
the stream, catching sack-loads of fish, chiefly of the 
above-named kinds. As we approach the lake the river 
becomes increasingly marshy, and after passing the new 
Fort Johnstone the river banks become nothing more nor 
less than a profound marsh, covered with brilliant grass, 
reeds, and a few borassus palms. It was among these 



swamps that the old Fort Johnstone was built and main- 
tained, till almost everyone had died in it, after which it 
was moved further down the river to the new site. The 
site of the old fort was an extraordinary place, so flat that 
the surface of the land was but an inch or two above the 
river and the lake, and one had only to scoop a few 
handfuls of sand away to collect water anywhere. The 
strong marshy smell of the place was almost overpowering, 
and Commander Rhodes told me it had actually more 
than once made him sick as he rowed along the river to 
and from the lake, and I can quite believe it would. 

Nyassa itself cannot be seen from either site, but it lies 
beyond a long line of borassus palms which fringe the 
slightly higher sand dunes of the actual coast. From this 
point the great lake is not prepossessing, and I remember 
on my former visit, after a weary walk which I made 
from the fort to look at it, thinking that after all it 
was going to be merely a repetition of Lake Shirwa. 
From this part of the coast, near the exit of the Shire 
river, one sees as a matter of fact but a small portion of 
one arm of the lake, bounded by swamps to the north 
and west, and by hills to the east, which sweep away into 
the distance towards the north. Immediately in front is 
a little rocky island, and it is only after passing this and 
putting out on the lake itself that one enters the lake 
region proper and a new world ; the swamps and the dank, 
foul river-courses are no more, the water is clear and blue, 
and so deep that, a few hundred yards from the coast, in 
some places one can let down a steel wire for over two 
hundred fathoms and find no bottom. A wild range of 
hills lies away to the west, which is, in fact, part of the 
Kirk range, and splits the southern end of Nyassa into 
two great arms. The hills are covered with forests which 



rise abruptly from the clear blue water, in fantastic shapes 
of weathered and broken granite, with here and there white 
quartz veins, appearing among the forest trees. Along this 
Median southern promontory there is one of the few good 
harbours on the lake ; it is known as Monkey Bay, and is a 
most picturesque little cove among the great hills, which is 

Inside the New Fort at Karoiiga, at the North Ivnd of J,ake Nyassa. 

completely shut in by an island placed exactly at its mouth 
like a stopper. In the small gunboats one used to enter 
the harbour b;^ a rock-set channel between the hills and 
the island, so narrow that the rocks that floored it could 
be distinctly seen on each side of the steamer as she 
passed.' Inside, the harbour is enclosed in an amphi- 
theatre of steep granite hills, which rise from the water 



in immense rock faces covered with trees to the top, and 
at the south there is a flat broad beach of yellow sand. 
Here the naval officers have established a wooding 
station ; that is, a recognised place for the people to 
bring wood down to the steamer to be sold. It is paid 
for in cloth, one yard of calico buying one cubic yard 
of wood. The bay is often very still, and where the 
steamer swings at her moorings the bottom can be dis- 
tinctly seen through the deep clear water, as well as 
hundreds of fishes, often very brilliantly coloured, one of 
them of a deep sky blue. Fishing here is, however, not 
often a success, as the rock fish are generally small- 
mouthed vegetable feeders, better caught by the use of 
a trammel or some such extensive net. Immediately 
inland from Monkey Bay one enters a series of beautiful 
park-lands, lying between steep, forest-clad hills, which 
abound with guinea-fowl, buck, and wild pigeons. From 
Monkey Bay onwards, to the wild headland of Living- 
stonia which terminates the promontory, between the 
eastern and western arms of the lake, the scenery in- 
creases in beauty as we proceed ; in one place, where 
the hills are very high and very steep, there is a great 
rent in one, and immediately below, standing partly in 
the water, is an immense mass of rock, which would 
exactly fit it if it were taken up and replaced, and which 
has evidently fallen from it, probably during an earth- 
quake. On clearing the headland, the western arm of 
the lake opens up as a broad sheet of water many miles 
across, and beyond which appear in the d(ni distance the 
lofty heights of Northern Angoniland. It is here that 
one first begins to realize the huge size of Nyassa, and 
to become possibly unpleasantly acquainted with the long 
•ocean-like swell that is nearly always running on the 



open expanses of the lake. Immediately to the north 
there is a lofty headland, beneath which lies Rifu, while 
far away to the east can be seen the green ground rising 
behind Fort Maguire. The sea on Nyassa can be a 
very formidable affair. During the dry season the winds 

The track frimi Nyassa to Tanganyika, with the wire of the Transcontinental 
Telegraph in the foreground. 

generally blow from the south-east, and often freshen 
into veritable gales, the sea rising into endless white 
horses and the surf breaking on the rocks in a manner 
that would not disgrace the Channel at its worst. In the 
old days before the gunboat Gwendoline was built, and 
there was nothing on the lake but the African Lakes 

5 ° 


Corporation’s steamers, the German gunboat and the two 
iittle English light-draught boats, it was necessary to 
dodge these storms with as much care as an open boat 
requires on the west coast of Ireland. It was then quite 
an undertaking getting from Monkey Bay anywhere 
north, as a wide arm of the lake had to be crossed, and 
the boat would be exposed for several hours in the open 
lake. Four years ago, on my former expedition. Sir 
Harry Johnstone allowed me to attach myself to the small 
gunboat that was then cruising on the lake, as by that 
means I should have abundant opportunities of visiting 
different portions of it, of examining the geology of the 
coasts and bays, and generally getting information of the 
whole region and its fauna. The Pioneer was com- 
manded by my friend Captain Rhodes, and I spent about 
seven delightful weeks with him on his trim little craft. 
We started from the south -and went to the north end of 
the lake, plying about, and running into every nook into 
which we could get. She was an extraordinary boat, so 
crank that when the boy brought the soup along the alley- 
way to the saloon, she used to roll perceptibly. The crew 
were natives, the engineers were Indian, and there was 
an excellent petty officer called Bighton, who used to 
make wonderful twists of native tobacco, which he rolled 
up in canvas and then bound with yarn. It was the very 
strongest tobacco I think anyone had ever smoked, but 
it was the best we had. One of the Indian engineers, 
who had engaged himself to the British administration as 
such, confessed ultimately to being nothing but a cabinet 
maker, and when he was on duty the screw used to change 
its velocity in a most alarming manner, so that I coi^stantly 
edged to the extreme stern of the boat. Rhodes also had 
a great piece of bacon hanging up in the saloon, pieces of 



which we used to fry when the natives brought eggs ; we 
had also plenty of oatmeal, a most desirable thing in 
Central Africa, and four or five she-goats, which were kept 
on board for milk. These goats had rather a rough time 
of it on the whole, as the boys used to trample their green 
fodder overboard as they moved past them, where they 
were tied up by the neck just alongside the boilers. One 
night in particular, while we were anchored in a little 
bay which lay open to the west, I woke up with a terrific 
noise, and when I looked out of my bunk I was thrown 
violently on the floor. I then noticed that the ship was 
rolling, rolling so violently that the swinging lamp struck 
the ceiling every time. When I got up there was dark- 
ness and confusion above, a big sea was coming in from 
the lake, Rhodes was forward shouting orders, and the 
men were trying to lower a boat with a small anchor in 
it called a kedgc, while on the other side of the steamer 
a weird hubbul) was going on, it was caused by the goats, 
who had gone overboard, all tied up by the necks, and 
hanging together like a bunch of grapes, anil they were 
now bleating loudly in the air, now merely bubbling in the 
water, as the great swells swept under us. However, we 
got them up again, and they gave us milk next morning 
as if nothing had happened. 

After leaving Livingstonia and the southern arms of 
the lake, the peculiar character of the Nyassa basin 
becomes more pronounced. The lake stretches north- 
ward like a great arm of the sea, bounded to the east 
and west by lofty mountains which flank its shores. 
These ranges really extend along the whole lake from 
north to south, and in the north the same trough-like 
valley is prolonged overland, with similar flanking ranges, 
to Lake Rukwa close to Tanganyika. The mountains 

4 * 



which thus run parallel with the lake shores are in 
reality not, however, mountains as mountains are pro- 
perly understood, but the broken edges of high tablelands, 
that flank the lake at about the same height on either 
shore. Nyassa thus really lies in a great square-sided 
trough, which is, as it were, let into the face of the land. 
The trough, moreover, is exceedingly deep, soundings of 
three hundred fathoms, no bottom, having been obtained 
by the naval officers, at several points in its bed, while 
over a great part of its area two hundred fathoms and 
upward had been recorded. When examined more closely, 
the figures of these soundings showed, however, that the 
really deep, or then bottomless portion, occupied only a 
small area near Nkata, and it was one of my primary 
objects on this journey to find out to what depth this 
area actually did run. I had brought a thousand 
fathoms of steel wire, and with this I went with Captain 
Cullen to the place in question, where we sounded, finding 
bottom here for the first time at 418 and 430 fathoms, 
in two places close together. Thus it is obvious that if 
the whole of Nyassa were to run out, the gunboats 
would still, as one of the officers observed, float on over 
a thousand feet of water ; or in other words, the bottom 
of Lake Nyassa is something over a thousand feet below 
the level of the sea. In attempting from these facts to 
form some estimate of the character of the Nyassa Valley, 
we must remember, however, that in many places the 
enclosing ranges rise to a height of seven thousand or 
eight thousand feet, before we can gain any idea of the 
nature of the vastness of the gulf or chasm in which the 
lake lies. It is, in fact, a huge abyss over three hundred 
miles in length and averaging some thirty in breadth 
and about nine thousand feet deep. Huge though it is, 



this depression is not the only one in Africa of a similar 
nature, but, as we shall see later, it belongs to a series 
of such chasms, which extend all the way from the site 
of Nyassa in the south to the Red Sea in the north. 

As we voyage north along this strange lake, the scenery 

A Chief of the Nyassa-Taiijfaiiyika Plateau. 

increases in magnitude and beauty all the way. The 
principal harbour on the west coast is Kota Kota, which 
is one of the oj^d slave ferries across the lake. There 
are still several old Arabs living in the place who were 
active in the slaving days, and are, probably, now, in an 
underhand way. At Kota Kota the actual coast-line is 
low, the hills standing away from the lake several miles 


inland. It is consequently here fringed with marshy 
shores, and the shallow harbour which exists is formed 
simply by an outstanding sand-spit. In these regions, 
in fact all over Central Africa, during the rainy season, 
the air is marvellously clear, and the sky as dark and 
blue as that on a high mountain-top. At such seasons 
the opposite coast of the lake is clearly visible, every 
spur and ridge on the great hills standing clearly out 
above the deep purple body of the lake, although the 
shore is really quite hull down. At these times distance 
in Africa vanishes altogether ; I have seen the hills 
north of Cameron Bay on Tanganyika from those beyond 
the extreme south of the lake, more than eighty miles 
away, so clear and detailed that you could actually see 
the shadows among the faces and ravines. So also in 
Nyassaland one can make out every detail on mountains 
over forty miles away. It was this clearness of the air 
which led to a very curious mistake during my first visit to 
Kota Kota. We were sitting in the fort looking out 
over the lake and over the low sand-spit which bounds 
the harbour, the point of which is about five miles off, 
when I saw what was to all appearance a delicate cloud 
of brilliant white smoke blowing rapidly over the water 
near the point ; it was so dense and so white that it could 
not be that of an ordinary fire, besides which it was some 
distance above the surface of the water, and although there 
was not a breath of wind in the hot afternoon, the cloud 
was moving with immense velocity directly towards us. 
For a few minutes we could make nothing of it, but, as it 
neared, the spell was suddenly snapped and the cloud 
resolved itself into thousands of flying components, each 
in fact being a small white bird very like a tern. Besides 
white clouds Nyassa also has its black clouds, equally 

^rorn a Sketch by the A uthor. 



curious in composition ; sometimes the lake appears, in 
fact, to smoke in all directions, for clouds and columns 
of a dusky vapour are seen rising out of it, often over 
a thousand feet in height The more one looks at these 
clouds the more curious they appear, for they stretch up 
from the lake in double lines, which become bent and 
twisted and knotted in the breeze. If they blow towards 
you the first thing that gives a clue to their nature is 
the appearance of crowds of swallows and swifts circling 
at all heights above the columns, and if they blow over 
you, or you run through them in a boat, the smoke 
suddenly resolves itself into countless millions of small 
flies, each like a gnat with three tails. These Kungu 
flies, as the natives call them, breed in the water, and 
when mature rise out of it in countless tens of thousands 
of millions, and for some reason or other in the 
form of a hollow cylinder several yards wide, which when 
looked through appears like two pillars of smoke. When 
they blow on shore, as they often do, the swarms of gnats 
which bury the bananas and the grass arc eagerly collected 
by the natives in baskets, and made into a sort of fly paste, 
with salt ; it is not so bad, but wants more taste. 

Northward from Kota Kota the scenery changes, the 
mountains approaching nearer to the coast, until they 
rise abruptly out of it, huge rounded heights, clearing 
the forest and appearing above it as green grassy 
summits, seven thousand to eight thousand feet in height. 
On the top of these high plateaux the climate is change- 
able and cold, long spells of cloudless, windy dry weather 
which converts ^hem into a withered desert, alternating 
with prolonged rains, during which they become as green 
as an English meadow and as wet and cold as the 
English Midlands in November. 



“ Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.” 

— Browning. 

From the warm, bright, unhealthy flats at the north end 
of Lake Nyassa, there appear in the north-west a series 
of broken ridges covered with thin forest, and rising into 
the general mass of the northern ranges to a height of 
between four and five thousand feet. It is over these 
ridges that one of the great octopus-like arms which civiliz- 
ation is throwing out stretches into the interior beyond. 
The arm consists of the inevitable African twin series of 
forts and mission stations, which here stretch along the 
course of the new trans-continental telegraph wire, the 
double-jointed cast iron poles of which form excellent 
rubbing posts for the great beasts of the forest. They 
come, in fact, specially to scratch themselves against them, 
and it may be supposed that these beasts, at any rate, 
will say “God bless Mr. Rhodes and the telegraph com- 
pany,” whatever other rewards may be earned at the hands 
of fate by that remarkable scheme. The posts, or those 
which can stand the repeated assaults of one sort and 
another which are continually being made against them, 
run through the districts where the so-called Stevenson 
road was said to go, and which is generally represented 
like a long flash of lightning stretching from Nyassa to 
Tanganyika, on the existing maps. As a matter of fact 

View of the West Coaust of lUike Tang^anyika, 



this road was never in existence, at all events beyond 
forty miles north of Karonga, and it has now been super- 
seded altogether by the track which has been cut, partly 
by the officers of the British Central African Protectorate 
and partly by those of Northern Rhodesia. This track is 
not exactly a road even now ; that is, it is not metalled, 
nor always ditched, but the trees have been cleared in 
bee lines from point to point, and it forms at any rate a 
guide to the traveller who is crossing from one lake to 
the other. I .say this because roads which are cut in 
Central Africa form a wonderful ground for new and very 
thick growths to spring up along their course ; .so that in 
a few months the road that was assumes the appearance 
of an immense and very bristly caterpillar, beside which 
it is possible to steer an erratic course, but to walk on the 
road itself — never. 

After leaving Karonga and traversing the hot, manshy 
plains which front the hills, the track ascends rapidly 
through wild mountain .scenery to the tableland beyond, 
and once over this we have entered the upper African 
world ; we have, in fact, climbed as it were on to the great 
gabled roof of the continent, down the ridge of which lie 
the lakes of Nyassa, Tanganyika, Kivu, the Albert and 
the Albert Edward Nyanzas, just as if they were a string 
of gigantic rain puddles in a gutter. We are free of the 
low river flats, free of the beautiful, pestilential, and utterly 
damned lake shores, with their baobabs and palm trees, 
their long white pebbly beaches and their millions of 
gorgeous fish ; we are out on the high, rolling, forest-clad 
ridges of the* far interior, of which so much has been 
predicted, where the people were only to be taught and 
the forest cleared, for the whole place to run over with 
corn and wine, waiting for Europeans to come and 



consume it. We are, in fact, in that paradise of the 
imagination par excellence. Northern Rhodesia, from 
which the coal and the copper, and the gold and the 
diamonds, are going to be brought down by the Trans- 
continental Railway’s engine drivers, to the great delight 
and enrichment of everybody concerned. But what as a 
matter of fact do we find ? We have tramped up in 
perspiring desperation from the shores of Nyassa, over 
an immense series of ridges, among the ravines of which 
there was the most beautiful mountain scenery, with here 
and there superb views of the blue lake, stretching below 
in shimmering heat and haze, as far as the eye could see. 
We have got out at last, over a final sandstone ridge, on 
to a great plain between four and five thousand feet up in 
the air, and flanked to the east and north by ranges of 
blue grassy mountains rising again three or four thousand 
feet above the plain. The plain itself is covered with 
forest, intersected with patches of rank grass, and stretches 
away apparently to infinity towards the north and west. 
The air is cool and the strong night wind desperately cold 
to the pampered blood we have brought up from the hot 
lake shores below. We are on the Congo watershed, for 
the Chambesi river rises quite close to us and flows into 
Lake Bangweolo away to the west. Near Minniwanda’s 
village, which stands not far from the road, there is an old 
British Central African station, now in ruins ; there is 
besides an old mission also in ruins, for the missionaries 
all died there of fevers ; while around us everywhere, over 
the boundless forest-clad plains and over the lonely hills, 
there is the gorgeous tropical light. Ther6 is the rustle 
of the perennial summer wind among the scraggy trees, 
there is t^e murmur of innumerable bees, and apparently 
there is nothing more. No one ever described these 

[J^'rom a Sketch by the Author, 


Strange upland forests better than Drummond, who spent 
some weeks among them near this very place, when he 
said that they seemed to stretch for ever, “ shadeless, 
voiceless, trackless,” as far as you like to go. They are 
indeed of vast extent, but in reality they are terminated 
towards the south-west by the vast swamps surrounding 
Lake Bangweolo ; they reappear, however, to the south of 
this lake, and stretch as far as the Zambesi river itself. 
They sweep away north and cover the whole region be- 
tween Tanganyika and Lake Mwero, and they stretch 
along the western slopes of the hills fringing Tanganyika 
on the west. For all practical purposes, therefore, it may 
be said that the whole of Northern Rhodesia consists of 
this rolling country, covered with these bare sterile forests, 
or swamps, or the open water of several great lakes. 
Over all this region, the great rains and the long droughts 
have full play ; in the one there is no water which is to be 
depended upon or fit to drink, and in the other there is no 
room to pitch a tent out of it. At whatever time of the 
year one visits the place there is, however, something 
wonderful and awe-inspiring in the boundless forest, which 
stretches away in every direction as far as the eye can 
see, its ocean-like surface only broken by occasional ranges 
of lonely, lofty hills, that rise above the soft, feathery 
forests of the waving plains like blue capes and islands 
out of a dark green sea. In the dry season, formidable 
rivers like the Siesi, and the swamps of the rains, shrink 
and disappear until their rocky courses contain nothing 
but chains of pools, and the dry marsh-lands are converted 
into scorching plains of cracked and hardened mud. The 
scanty grass is burnt underneath the thin, leafless trees, 
and a mighty rushing wind whistles through the dry 
crackling vegetation day and night. Clouds of red dust. 



carried by the wind, coat the tree stems on the south-east 
side as if they had been painted with red chalk. The air 
is dim, and the blue of the sky paled with the smoke of 
the endless grass fires which at this season are burning all 
over the continent south of the Equator, and which by 
night are seen creeping over the hills like fiery snakes, 
or lighting up the sky with a broad glare as of some great 
town. There is dust in one’s eyes, dust in the air, dust 
in the soup, dust in one’s clothes, and there is the par- 
ticular abomination of Africa, the white ant, who, without 
haste but without rest, manoeuvres everywhere. He ap- 
pears suddenly in reconnoitring parties in one corner of 
a hut, and you move your precious boots in terror to the 
other. During the night, however, the ants bring up the 
reserves and talk it over, and finally they build a tunnel 
of neat little bricks right across the floor, straight to the 
boots, all complete before daylight and almost invisible, 
and while you are out next day, the ants fall upon the 
boots, devouring them from the inside outwards in all 
directions till light shows through the thin skin of leather 
left, and next time you lift up the boots, which are per- 
haps your last pair, they fall to pieces as if they were made 
of paper-ash. 

In the wet season things are not much better ; they are 
perhaps on the whole much worse. Fever is more pre- 
valent, so is dysentery ; the river and swamps become full, 
the bushes and trees put on a respectable dank green 
tropical appearance, and in the fiery heat of the sun, 
which follows the thunderous gloom of the storms, brilliant 
flowers open. The air is warm and limp throughout the 
day, like that of a rainy June. And evening finally steals 
over these lonely upland wildernesses, in sonfe sublime com- 
bination of tropical colour and dissolving storm-clouds, such 

View over the town of Ujiji and across Lake Tanganyika from the German Fort at Uiiji. 



as neither Ruskin nor Turner ever saw or even imagined. 
As the last rays of the sun sweep horizontally over the 
boundless woods, shadows of every shape and shade 
gather in the hollow river courses, and reveal, as they 
deepen, the real vastness of the scene around. At such 
times a sense of utter loneliness and desertion steals over 
the traveller. Terrors and horrors of every description 
start up in the imagination, and send him back to his 
camp fire and his instruments, anywhere out of the pre- 
sence of the immensities and the eternities which reign 

At night, and at all seasons of the year, the natives 
dance wild dances in the villages, under the great fig trees 
which grow near the water on these plains, but without 
the least notion of the historical use to which fig leaves 
have been put. They play on drums and stringed instru- 
ments till three o’clock in the morning, and when at last 
their hubbub and that of the gusty midnight wind have 
died down together, the world without sinks into a still- 
ness so jjrofound and so unearthly that you start out of 
bed wondering what has happened, just as people often do 
when the screw stops on a great steamer out at sea. 

As we approach Tanganyika itself the plateau attains 
an altitude of about six thousand feet, and near the Siesi , 
river there are wide expanses of grass land, covered in all 
directions by innumerable ant-hills, often thirty to forty 
feet in height, and one hundred feet in diameter at the 
base. They present the most extraordinary appearance, 
the country looking as if it was studded by countless 
miniature volcanic cones, and how all the ants in these 
innumerable hills live is very difficult to understand, for 
there is very little vegetation in the neighbourhood, and 
it is not easy to see what the countless millions of termites 

5 * 


can find on which to feed. Personally, I hope they 

North of the Siesi one enters a hilly, broken country ; 
in fact, we are here among the same hills which bound 
the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika, and among 
which I found in 1895 conglomerates, very similar to those 
in the Transvaal in which gold occurs, but which here 
have no such auriferous characters. 

If the districts between Nyassa and Tanganyika can be 
taken as a measure of the rest of Northern Rhodesia — 
and I am pretty sure that on account of their altitude they 
will match favourably with the greater part of it — it will 
be obvious to anyone acquainted with the sort of country 
I have just described, that is, with the bush veldt of the 
fever country of the Transvaal and Portuguese Hast 
Africa, that it is a more or less beautiful but an extremely 
undesirable place. It has, however, a high ecsthetic value, 
and it will serve in the future in all probability for a few 
sportsmen and a new school of painters, neither of which 
care much about discomforts or the probability of an early 

In an extended survey of the African interior this 
country is, however, of some importance, because it affords 
a valuable object for comparison with the far better types 
of country which exist in both the German and Belgian 
spheres of influence, beyond Ujiji on Tanganyika to the 

7 ? 


“ I do pray you, master, have the place swept up, for when I did see the abominations 
in it, I did cjist my gorge.” 

— Old Etijrlish Letter, 

Up to this point of our journey north it will be seen 
that we passed through district after district, from the 
Zambesi mouth to the heights above Tanganyika, with- 
out anything in the way of adventure, without any real 
difficulty of any sort. There were the inevitable African 
delays, exasperating enough while they lasted, but our 
introductions to the different European officials passed 
the expedition on from place to place as if it had been 
a postal party with the royal mail. Thus far, as a 
matter of fact, you can go in this direction, either at 
enormous expense in the hands of the African Lakes 
Corporation, or, as we did, in the character of a definite 
scientific expedition befriended by the English Govern- 
ment ; but beyond this point things are different. It is 
now, and indeed has been for some years, only after 
leaving the south end of Tanganyika, en route for the 
north, that the journey begins to take on the character of 
those of the older explorers. I had arranged with the 
Blantyre manager of the African Lakes Corporation to 
charter their small steamer on Tanganyika, which I had 
seen on my former trip, and which would answer our 
purpose very well if she would steam at all. She was, 



in fact, the original Habari Ingema (good news), launched 
eighteen years before by the London Missionary Society, 
and afterwards sold to the African Lakes Corporation, and 
I had obtained her for the exclusive use of the expedition 
for the payment of two hundred pounds a month. It was 
now doubtful whether H.M. Commissioner, Mr. Sharp, 
would be able to come with us at all to Kivu, as we had 
hoped, owing to the disturbance in the Awemba country to 
the west. We had heard many stories also of the disturbed 
state of the country north of Tanganyika, and I therefore 
wished to get down to the steamer and put as many loads 
on her as possible, and go right up to the north end of 
the lake, where I could ascertain what the state of affairs 
really was, and leave the loads either at Ujiji or at the 
north end itself, if there was a suitable place there, 
and then return to the south, leisurely exploring the 
lake as we came. To this plan, however, there now 
came into view several obstacles, for although we had 
got the loads to Abcrcorn, fourteen miles south of 
Tanganyika, beyond this point we could not move ; 
in fact, we sat here some twenty-one days before it was 
possible, cither by love or money, to raise sufficient 
porters to move the loads down to the lake. At last, 
however, enough loads were got down in advance, and 
I left Abercorn with a light heart to see the steamer 
and arrange with the African Lakes Corporation’s agent, 
who was. at Kituta, about taking her over. It seemed 
indeed as if I was at last within measurable distance of 
getting what I had wanted for four mortal years, namely, 
a steamer to myself on the lake, and thereby the means 
of finding what fish and other things were in its deep 
waters and away in those portions to the north, -where 
I had never been. 



On leaving Abercorn in the heart of the plateau 
forest, one strikes away to the north, at first through 
the same sort of country, and it is almost impossible 
to believe that within a few miles the great Tanganyika 
itself lies in its vast gulf, nearly three thousand feet below. 
The descent when it does begin is, however, exceedingly 
steep, and just at its commencement there appears away 
to the west the long blue line of gigantic cliffs that fringe 
the south-western shores of the lake. On this march 
I was quite alone, my Somali carrying my rifle, some 
hundred yards behind, and as I descended the peculiar 
features of the great valley began to appear one after 
the other, just as they did when I first visited Tanganyika 
in the spring of 1896. There is something keenly inter- 
esting in visiting .scenes which have left an indelible 
im2Jression on one years before ; little things have changed 
in the surroundings, which we regret. Here the old 
native jjath which used to exist, worn down below the 
surface of the ground by the silent tread of generation 
after generation of Ulungus, had been converted into 
a broad track by the felling of trees. The natives had 
made new punqjkin gardens by the side of the road, 
clearing the trees where there used to be a forest, 
“ ancient as the hills,” but the “ spots of sunny greenery ” 
which the remaining forest still enclosed were as brilliant 
with flowers and murmurous with bees as ever. Even 
the ring-doves and the green pigeons had not departed, 
nor the occasional bush buck that .stumbled up from among 
the trees ; nor the sand, nor the flies, nor the brilliant 
blue jays. It is indeed a fact most noticeable in Africa 
that every great lake has an individuality of its own, an 
individual climate, and an individual type of scenery. 
With each there are associated peculiarities of atmosphere 



and temperature, peculiarities in the formation of the 
surrounding land, peculiarities in the coast flora, and 
peculiarities in the water of the lakes themselves. In fact, 
if an example of that detestable animal, the observant man 
who had seen all the lakes, was to suddenly find himself 
transported and set down in a part of one of them where 
he had never been before, he would nevertheless know 
instantly on which lake he was. 

As we near Tanganyika, the path winds down through 
a gradually deepening gorge which looks towards the 
north. The sides of this gorge are very characteristic 
of the place. That on the west rises in an almost per- 
pendicular cliff of dark red sandstones and conglomerates 
to a great height, the ledges and clefts in which are studded 
with trees, while the crest itself thrusts a fringe of the 
plateau forest against the brilliant sky. On the east the 
wall of the gorge rises more gradually in a succession 
of forest-clad ridges, which roll up to a great height, and in 
reality constitute the rather narrow barrier which separates 
the Tanganyika and the Rukwa valleys. Somewhere over 
these hills to the right there is a village, and about that 
village there hangs a gruesome story. It appears that after 
Livingstone died at Ilala on Lake Bangweolo, his boys 
carried the great explorer back round the south end of the 
coast. The body had been disembowelled and preserved 
in quantities of salt, and' on the long march had become so 
dried that it was carried like a rifle on the shoulders of his 
men. When they arrived at the village in question these 
men were short of cloth and beads ; but the salt was a 
marketable commodity, and this was bartered with the old 
chief for the food, etc., they required on the march towards 
the coast. 

Tanganyika itself, the most mysterious lake in the 

To face page 76 . ] 



world, appears at last as a strip of bright blue water, 
which is blue with the peculiar powdery blue of the 
Mediterranean, and lies between a continuation of 
the red sandstone bluffs on the left and the distant 
eastern coast of the lake. The water first comes 
in sight through the black leafless forest trees 

A Swahili porter and his load. 

through which the path descends, and between the 
lower slopes of this forest and the water itself there 
are flat plains of dark brown and green marsh-land, 
covered with patchy bushes of mimosa trees and grass. 
The dark red cliffs on the west and the pale purple 
feathery surface of the forest on the hills rising to the 
east, together with the nearer setting of the green 



marshes, form wonderful contrasts with the blue water, 
which extends to a sea horizon towards the north, and 
is flecked and streaked by dark catspaws of the trade 
wind as it flies away in that direction over the lake. 

In the old days when the African Lakes Corpora- 
tion first established a little trading station near Kituta 
at the head of the marsh just beneath the forest, there 
used to be a European house of mud and wattle, and 
some other buildings of the same description standing 
round a square space of ground, in which the agent 
had planted radishes and pine-apples. On the present 
occasion all this had disappeared, however, having been 
utterly consumed, along with nearly the whole of the 
native village, in about ten minutes by a terrible fire. 
The wreck of the place was standing as I passed out of 
the forest on this particular day in the unspeakable still 
heat of the afternoon, and almost at the same instant 
came the peculiar smell of Tanganyika itself, a smell 
which is like nothing else in the world, but somewhat 
resembles that of a weedy tidal beach, on which the 
sun has dwelt for many hours. The agent had betaken 
himself after the fire to another small mud house 
which had been built as an outpost of the Chartered 
Company, by a half-breed called Tom Faulkner. The 
place was filthy and dirty beyond all words, and in an 
inner room, almost dark, which reeked of filth of every 
description from bad whiskey to rats, lay the engineer 
of the steamer, whom, according to our contract with 
the Corporation, I had chartered as well. He was at 
the time badly wounded, having, I suppose in want of 
something better to do, taken to hunting cockroaches on 
board his ship with a revolver, a practice which is not 
to be recommended, as game of this description is apt 



to run over one’s person, when shooting becomes very 
risky, and it had ended in this instance by the bullet 
passing tangentially through the flesh of the engineer’s 
chest and into his arm. The agent himself was also 
a remarkable young man, with something the matter 
with his eyes, and who to every question I put to 
him about the steamer answered, “ Oh Christ, yes,” 
or “ Oh Christ, no,” or “ Oh Christ, surely,” till I finally 
went outside by myself to laugh and think about what 
had better be done. It was, however, growing dark, 
and before I had time to arrive at any conclusion I 
returned to the agtmt’s bungalow to partake of a meal, 
the putridity of which surpH.ssed that of any I have 
ever seen. After being made sick, and consequently 
satisfied, by the repast which we had contemplated in 
the dim unspeakable squalor of the hut, I went to bed 
but not to sleep ; Kituta is hot, as hot as most places 
in the world, and just before the rains the nights are 
fearful. To anyone who has not experienced it, I doubt 
if the condition of things attained there, in a tent 
pitched on the hot sandy ground crowded with mos- 
quitoes and without a punka, can be realized. Directly 
you are undressed you are drenched from head to foot 
with the effort, and tingling all over with mosquito bites. 
No sooner are you safely inside the net than the 
appalling heat threatens asphyxiation, and you roll about 
in a black despair, till it becomes intolerable. On these 
occasions I used to get up and go out into the heavy 
night, wandering about like a ghost in pyjamas looking 
for a wind. On such nuits blanches wanderings, one 
often sei?s strange sights in Africa. I once came across 
a group of great baboons drinking in a pool ; on another 
occasion I was watched by two fluorescent eyes which 



probably belonged to some large cat, and which followed 
my movements from some trees until I had stealthily 
crept back under the shelter of the tent. Once in the 
terrible country north of Kivu, I sat down on what I 
thought in the clear starlight was a log of wood, to 
find— oh, horrors ! — that 1 was sitting on the soft mass 
of a putrefying man. 

Next morning, shortly after sunrise, I went with the 
agent across a long stretch of sand to the beach to inspect 
the steamer, which was anchored just beneath the red cliffs 
on the west of the bay. Outside she was rather a pre- 
possessing craft, painted white, built like a yacht, with a 
yawl’s rig and a funnel very far aft. She was indeed a 
sailing boat with auxiliary steam, and in her most palmy 
days never intended to do more than five miles an hour 
with steam alone. We paddled out to her in an old dug- 
out canoe, and on a closer inspection she was not so nice ; 
there was a dead goat blown out to an enormous size on 
her poop, the decks were brown and stained ; sails there 
were none, while the stays and rattlins fluttered loose in 
the warm breeze, mo.stIy broken in half. Inside she was 
far worse : a sickening smell came up from below, a smell 
that proclaims but one thing, the universal prevalence of 
cockroaches. The port glasses were broken and cracked, 
and the stained cushions in the saloon were on no account 
to be touched lest undesirable things might leap out of 
them. The lids of the lockers were gone, and the floor was 
carpeted with an indescribable collection of filth. From 
the panelling on the walls, from the holes in the rotten 
floor, from the cracks in the shrunk casings, there came 
an ominous rustling and scuttling, and from under every 
object in the place huge cockroaches peered stealthily at 
us, waving their long feelers gently up and down. In the 



engine-room the condition of things had reached a climax ; 
the boiler pump valve leaked and had been temporarily 
fixed up with strips of cloth and cow-dung. There was a 
leak at the junction of the escape pipe, and there appeared 
to have been much steam blowing off at the nuts round the 

A native. 

manhole. But the most curious thing that the cockroach- 
hunting engineer had left behind him was an extemporised 
cylinder cover. This consisted of a broken one, three or 
four pieces of iron plate, some packing, some old nuts, and 
a monkey screw-key turned upside down and holding in 
its jaws the cylinder and its cover together. Whether it 



was the inspection of the dilapidated inside of the steamer 
or effects of mosquito bites I don’t know, but the agent 
now became ill with fever, and I returned with him to the 
wretched hut he occupied with many misgivings as to the 
possibility of ever getting the steamer to go at all. In 
his lucid intervals, however, I learned that there was a 
boiler maker somewhere on the lake who had been sent 
by the African Lakes Corporation to make a section boat 
for the Congo Free State, and who was staying for the 
sake of his health at the mission at Nyamkolo, a spot, by 
the way, which has as high a death rate as any place in the 
world. The worst thing about the whole affair was, that, 
the African Lakes Store at Kituta having been burnt 
down, all the tools, solder, spare parts, red lead, etc., were 
gone too, with the exception, fortunately, of a new cylinder 
top which was too substantial to melt. In the early 
morning, just as the red dawn was breaking over the lines 
of feathery leafless forest which bound the lake on the 
east, I set out to find my boiler maker. In order to get 
to Nyamkolo, one crosses the creek to a point in the west- 
ward swamps where there is an excessively dirty village 
called Kipata. The voyage is generally made in a dug-out 
canoe, in which you have to sit flat down in the bottom 
with your face a foot above the water, and trust implicitly 
to the balancing agilities of a native who stands up in the 
stern of the dug-out log and flourishes his paddle like the 
pole of a rope dancer, and by dipping it at convenient in- 
tervals, generally manages not only to keep the canoe from 
rolling over, but to make it move along at the same time. 
In the creek there were innumerable crocodiles, which lay 
like inanimate logs of wood, and each of which rocked as 
we passed by, so that with its nearer eye it could watch 
the canoe and see if it was going to capsize, in which 


event there might have been something for one or more 
of them to eat. If travelling in a dug-out canoe is not 
easy to a European, landing at Kipata is far less so. The 
canoe is pushed in among the tall reeds, in the narrow 
lanes between which the water is deep and floored by 
waving masses of green kara. The lanes end in mud 
over which the canoe cannot be pushed, and here the 
traveller gets out, sitting on the shoulders of his stalwart 
boatman, with his hands grasping the crown of his woolly 
head and his legs twisted tightly round his neck. The 
length of this double man is considerable, and renders 
walking through the deep mud of the shore very likely to 
end in performances similar to those of Japanese acrobats, 
only in these places, instead of ending with a graceful bow 
to the audience on the dry beach beyond, you finish as a 
rule landing head downwards in about four feet of pitchy, 
stinking mud. It happened thus on the present occasion. 
I was nervously clutching my boatman’s head and driving 
my knees into his neck, half way between the boat and 
the shore, when he tripped over a submerged root, and I 
flew in a beautiful parabolic curve head first, like the white 
knight in “ Alice’s Adventures,” and ended heels up in 
four feet of excessively odoriferous African mud. From 
this position I was eventually pulled out by several 
villagers, and finally set on a log to drain in the centre of 
an admiring crowd. I was perfectly blind with mud, and, 
as I found after working out through the slime, quite black 
to the waist. 

It was now about seven a.m., and the sun was blazing 
over the endless reeds and sandy stretches which lay to 
landward, covered with cassava and wild cotton flowers. As 
I plodded on over the hot, soft, crunching sand, spear grass 
spiked my legs and hands, making little beads of blood 



Stand out wherever they touched the skin, and gradually 
the layers of mud dried and cracked out of my hair, the 
Somali informing me with a grin that I should soon be a 
white man again. The path across the sand flats ends 
abruptly against the sandstone cliffs which rise out of the 
reeds, and over this the road winds in a succession of jerks, 
like the road up the Pyramids. In ten minutes it became 
apparent that it was not only excessively steep, but that 
the sun was on our backs and so powerful that it made 
one gasp and turn sick, so that I continually sat down, 
making a pretence of admiring the broad blue expanse 
of the lake and the great brazen dome of the sky, while 
in reality sweat was streaming from every pore and the 
pulses in my neck threatened to burst. After some thirty 
minutes of this foretaste of hell, I came out on the top of 
the cliffs into a strange upper world, filled with cool breezes 
and covered with thin forest. Everywhere the grass- 
hoppers and bees rattled and buzzed about amongst the 
coarse grass and delicate flowers, and we went forward as 
it were with a leap and a bound into the breeze. From 
where we marched the western arm of the great lake lay 
vast and flat and blue for some sixty miles to the north, 
and over the dark stretches of deep clear water, there rose 
like gigantic purple shadows the western edges of the great 
valley, soaring in sheer precipices two thousand feet or 
more in height. Between us and these distant mountains 
ran the curving line of yellow sand on the lake shore, 
bounded on the one side by the leafless forest and on the 
other by the boundless lake, which spread itself out to the 
north in changing shades of ruffled blueness between. the 
islands and the coast. Everywhere the spirit of Tanganyika 
seemed to brood over the strange landscape, which lay 
before us mysterious and solemn, with thp deep blue sky 

The long and the short of our escort through the German Territory, 
North of Tanganyika, 


above as clear and keen as that in an intense frost at home, 
and no sound anywhere except that of the distant torrents 
falling among the hills, and the scream of the fish-eagles 
calling on the rocks along the coast. From the ridge the 
road slopes down to the swamps bordering the lake, and 
when I was here for the first time there used to be a mission 
station and an unfinished stone church, standing on an 
elevated mass of flat-topped rock between the swamps and 
the lake. The mission when I first visited the lake was 
entirely deserted ; no one lived in the neat thatched bun- 
galows or taught in the school. The roof of the church was 
partly fallen in and brilliant lizards ran about the vacant 
window frames and over the sunlit floor. Here also, as 
near the mission station Drummond described on Nyassa, 
there were among the trees and the sun-dried rocks a num- 
ber of European graves huddled together in a space of 
stony ground ; and these told, in the blatant way of 
this beautiful but utterly damned land, the old African 

It is easy, however, to go away from this place of evil 
memories over to the wooded islands, where we find 
ourselves in scenery very like that depicted by Martin in 
the vales of Paradise. On the soft beaches of yellow sand 
covered with tall mimosa bushes there lie, moreover, the 
strangest types of shells to be found in any lake. One is 
long and spiney like the murex of the sea, another is like 
the periwinkles of our half-tide rocks, while a third is like 
the naticas which can be dredged up in the deep water at 
the mouth of the English Channel. In the clear water 
between the islands and the mission there are, moreover, 
hundreds of almost invisible medusae which look like 
pulsating rings of glass, only the mouth showing in the 
centre of an organism which is as clear as the water 

6 * 



itself. Here also the lake is entirely floored with the 
shells of the millions and millions of molluscs which have 
lived and died in Tanganyika and drifted into acres 
of shelly deposits, and on these in turn there are 
now growing three distinct kinds of sponges. Two of 
them are like the sponges which are found on the 
shores of the seas, but the third has spicules of silica 
embedded in its substance, which are at the same time 
not only like those of a species that lives in the Congo, 
half way between Tanganyika and the Atlantic Ocean, 
but which are also exactly like the spicules of sponges 
found in the marine deposits of the Silurian epoch. In 
the waters of the lake there are also hundreds of fishes ; 
brilliant-coloured eyelids flash about among the shore 
rocks, while out in the lake the water is ruffled by leap- 
ing shoals of larger fish. As there are innumerable rock- 
fishes here, so there are innumerable kingfishers perched 
in the mimosa bushes, trying to catch them, and for ever 
diving with a flop and a splash into the water near the 
shore. The kingfishers are, however, not the only enemies 
of the Tanganyika fish ; on the bare limbs of the trees 
which grow above the shores there are often to be seen 
perched one or more white-headed ospreys, and these fish- 
eating eagles have habits as regular as those of any City 
merchant. I used to know one of them particularly well. 
He was a bachelor bird and lived in a crack in the rocks 
of an island near Kinyamkolo, where I was camped. Just 
below the crack there was a great dead tree, and every 
morning exactly a quarter of an hour before the sun rose 
this bird used to come out of his crack and scream ; he 
then flew into the tree, and for exactly a quarter of an 
hour he would pick out lice and other vermin from his 
feathers. Whether he got them all out or not did not 


seem to make much difference, for exactly as the sun rose 
he sailed off straight down the lake for seven miles, where 
there was another dead tree at the end of a beautiful little 
bay ; from this tree he solidly fished till eleven o’clock. 


Ouiari-bm-Otnan and Taratibu. 

when he came back to his other tree and screamed till four 
o’clock in the afternoon. He used then to fish with great 
care and deliberation from where he was till sunset, when 
he went to bed. He did this w’hile I was there without 
a break ibr six solid weeks, and after I had been away 
for a month up the lake 1 found he was still passing the 

9 * 


self-same life. I therefore got up very early one morning 
and took a shot gun and some No. 3 shot with me, and 
sat on the rocks above his crack. Just before the sun 
rose he came out as usual, and would have gone through 
the same round again if I had not shot him dead just as 
he began to scream in the tree below. 



Oi 0 itTTov frr//rr/irr', avd 6* iffTia XfvKu TrsTatTffuv* 

*Ev 5* dvf/tot; TTpifatv /tictrov itrriov, dft^i H KV^a 
^rtipy 7rnp0J^€OP /leyaX* ta^f pjyot; tovfftjc*- 

— 'Iliad. 

It was from Kinyamkolo on my former journey, and 
before I had become inured to the peculiar brutality of 
the African climate, that I tried to make a voyage to 
Cameron Bay in an old historic craft. She was not the 
steamer which we used on the present journey, but a 
steel section boat of the nature of a barge, with a cutter 
sail and with all the appearance, as sailors express it, 
of having been built by the mile and cut off by the yard. 
Sir Harry Johnstone had had her sent up to Tanganyika 
some years before, and told me I might use her 
if I could find her anywhere about. She was lying 
at Kituta bottom up in the swamps, full of hornets’ 
nests, and after we had turned her over carefully and 
scraped her, there were many pinholes rusted through 
the steel sections of which she was built. We screwed 
small iron plates over all we could find, and I then 
sailed her round from Kituta to Kinyamkolo. The 
sailing powers of this old tank were remarkable ; her 
rudder was too small, and she could only be made to 
head, up to the, wind by lashing a pole so that it pro- 
jected at right angles from her length amidships, and 



tying a heavy dug-out canoe on to the end of this. 
Thus arranged she would sail across the wind at any 
rate. After some days at Kinyamkolo she developed 
more pinholes, and these I corked up with the corks out 
of my collecting bottles ; and one fine evening I pro- 
claimed to Sambo, my head man, that I intended to 
start for Cameron liay. The old chief of the village, 
however, when he heard of this, came up to me in a 
great state of mind. He said I must on no account go 
that night, as it was going to blow even in a manner 
such as I had never seen although I had come across 
the sea. Now it had been the most superb blue hot 
weather for many days, and this day looked like all the 
rest. Why, therefore, it should blow on that particular 
night I could not see, and in my ignorance and arrogance 
I told him so. He persisted, however, that it would 
blow that night, and that if I meant to go I should at 
any rate not start before four o’clock next morning. I 
therefore compromised, and we decided to start at mid- 
night. Curiously enough at sunset on this particular 
day the breeze did freshen, warning gusts of it moaning 
through the leafless forest out of a clear green evening 
sky. About midnight, however, it had died down again, 
and I chaffed the old chief in the firelight about his 
prophecy, confident in my own powers of observation, 
but he merely shook me by the hand as if I had been 
a pump and said that we should be blown to pieces 
if we started. I do not think all his people shared his 
fears ; any way one woman, who lived on the west coast of 
the lake, wished me to let her go in the boat as a passenger, 
and by eleven o’clock some twenty of my men. Sambo 
and the cook, had bundled into the boat, and we were 
off. The boat slipped silently out over the deep still 



water, the men raising a wild chant as they pulled on 
the long oars, the air of which was this : 

i . ^ IjAi ^-dd d j j j A ‘Lj . . 

As we ran out of the lee of the rocks, a warm breeze 
filled the sails and we rippled away into the black 
mysterious expanse of the lake which lay before. For 
an hour or more all went well ; the canoe remained 
lashed out at the end of the projecting spar, and I 
dozed in the stern of the rotten old tank as she drifted 
along. Later, however, I heard in a sort of dream 
Sambo and the cook talking, and the word “ peppo ” 
(wind) repeated so often that 1 woke up and looked 
round. The night was as bright and starlit as ever, 
but the land had now disappeared in the gloom be- 
hind, while away to the south whence we had come 
there was a long line of grey, spreading over the 
surface of the lake, and in the air there was a uni- 
versal murmur like that of a distant sea. Sambo 
pointed to the grey line, and as I looked I became 
aware that it was nothing less than the surface of 
the lake which was being lashed into foam by the old 
chief s wind. Catspaws drifted before, over the surface 
of the lake, and filled the rotten sail. Little by little 
this wind increased and the old boat blundered along 
at twice her previous speed ; the grey line swept 
nearer with an alarming velocity, and as it neared the 
wind ripped past the boat in whistling gusts, and the 
old sail bent and cracked as if it would fly to pieces 



every minute. Huge white seas rose after us, and 
presently there came a crashing and crackling sound 
forward. I thought it was the mast going, but Sambo 
grabbed something over the side of the boat; this 
was the canoe, which had gone adrift. We ran the 
painter aft and lashed it to the stern, and for some 
time we flew on quietly enough, but the sea was gradu- 
ally rising, and every now and then the huge form 
of some seventh wave would appear out of the dark 
starlit water behind, and walk majestically after us, 
till its crest toppled over into white foam that hissed 
and rushed under the stern as it drove ahead. These 
big waves converted the heavy dug-out canoe into a 
formidable battering ram, and two or three times she 
slid down their hollows with a rush that threatened to 
stave us in every minute. Sambo tried to loose the 
painter and to pay out more line, but the night was 
very dark. I tried and the cook tried, and while we 
were all struggling to get the painter adrift, a sea 
sent the canoe into our stern with a crash. I saw we 
were going to be smashed, so I seized the rope with 
one hand and gave a sweeping cut at it with my knife 
in the other. The result was not what I expected. 
Instead of the line giving way there arose a fearful . 
yell, the cook bounded into the air, and back into the 
well of the boat, nearly upsetting us all, and the rope 
remained untouched. Before I had time to realise what 
had happened, a great sea walked after the canoe, 
which rose high in the air, and as the line came 
taut the front of the old dug-out broke away and she 
gradually fell behind, lying awkwardly among the big 
seas as we disappeared. We were for the moment 
safe, but a ceaseless sound of woe like that heard by 



Dante through the gates of hell was rising loudly from 
the bottom of the boat. I crept forward with a light 
and Sambo to see what it was all about ; the seats 
were splashed with blood, and there, in under them, 
lay the cook apparently weltering in his gore. Round 
his arm he had wound a piece of cloth, already saturated 
with blood, and when I unwound it I found his arm 
was cut and slashed in a frightful manner to the very 
bone. I had, in fact, been cutting at it instead of the 
rope, and this was why that rope had held. There 
was nothing to be done ; we were rolling about in a 
fearful manner, the men were all hopelessly sick, lying 
about four deep on the top of one another in the bottom 
of the boat. We were drifting blindly out into the 
great lake in the dark, and the sea behind was a sight 
to behold. The whole lake seemed to be drawn out 
into long lines of hissing foam, between which were the 
great dark hollows of the waves, while in every motion 
of the boat and of the white-crested rollers there was 
that indescribable slow, stately progress which is so 
particularly characteristic of a really big sea. We lay 
sometimes this way, sometimes that, sometimes with the 
prow tilted up before us, sometimes perched in the stern 
on the crest of a wave, but always following the slow, 
majestic heave of the great waves that were drifting past ; 
only if we had broached to, or the sails had gone, should 
we have felt suddenly the whirling force of the wind and 
sea behind. 

After two or three hours the gale moderated, and I 
suggested to Sambo that we might cautiously head her a 
little to the west, so as to reach the nearest land. I 
thought it might be pleasant to breakfast on shore, and 
that on the whole walking was preferable to, and more 



expeditious than, sailing, and we could then go on to 
Sumbu on foot. As the wind sank the sea sank as sud- 
denly, and when the first flush of dawn fired the east 
among the stars we were lying easily on a great glassy 
swell. We were also now in a new world ; eastward the 
dark body of the lake lay, a heaving illimitable mass like 
the sea, while on our left there rose the huge line of rugged 
mountains standing over the lake in the wildest precipices 
thousands of feet in height. Over the surface of the water 
as we headed towards the land there came a delicious 
scent of flowers and honey, and round about us there were 
playing innumerable shoals of leaping silvery fish. As we 
drifted along the wind dropped altogether, and I ordered 
my sea-sick mariners to get out the oars and begin to 
row. They had hardly done this when we were startled 
by a huge dark, gleaming fish, which rushed at the blades 
like an infuriated shark. I grabbed my rifle, and, following 
the glittering mark, made sure I had drilled it, for after 
the report of the rifle the fish turned limply and floated for 
a second near the boat, but before we could secure it it 
gradually sank deeper and deeper, and finally disappeared. 
This fish is, I found on the present expedition, in reality 
a great bass which attains a length of about four feet. 
Shortly after sunrise we neared the shore and finally ran 
into a little bay, lying immediately beneiith the huge .sand- 
stone precipices of the west coast. These mountains are 
regarded by the natives as the abodes of spirits, and it 
seems to ' me that there is very little reason why they 
should not be so regarded, for a more unearthly, mys- 
terious-looking coast I never saw ; it was, in fact, just the 
place where one would expect to meet a snark. The 
beach was of yellow sand and white pebbles, and behind 
these there was a space of trees and yellow cotton flowers. 

cones along^ the Xorthern shore of the I^ake. 



Everything, however, was over-shadowed and over- 
powered by the gigantic cliffs which stood in wild but- 
tresses and towers of yellow sandstone thousands of feet 
above the beach. The worn crests of these great cliffs 
were fringed with forest trees, which looked like a mere 
growth of green mould, they were so far above us in the 
clear blue air. After a night such as we had passed, there 
is nothing so delightful as to give oneself up wholly to the 
delights of food and drink. We had not slept, we had 
been blundering through the surf for hours, expecting to 
go to the bottom every minute, and now the cook had re- 
covered from his sea-sickness, and with one arm was 
making deliciously scented coffee and grilling the legs of a 
guinea fowl on a fire made out of the mimosa logs which 
lay on the beach. Under a great flat-crowned acacia. 
Sambo had set up a chair and a table with a cloth on it, 
and I lay at my length watching the great green rollers 
break up on the beach. Nowhere, if it were not for vile 
malaria, would there be a place like Central Africa for pure 
physical delight, nor one where you can be so utterly 
miserable when the rain pours and the waters are out 
yards deep over the country, when it is already dark and 
there is no prospect of a camping ground for miles. As 
I became cheered with good things my courage began to 
come back, and I felt that the sea was not such a bad 
place after all. If we embarked at once we should be 
round at Sumbu next day some time, but then of course 
there would be the chance of another of these terrible 
nights. Now Sambo was like unto the devil, in that he 
was a tempter of white men, and as I found out afterwards 
a tempter of them for his own base ends. And so on this 
particular'occasion he suggested that round the next point 
there was a great river flowing into the lake up which we 



could row the boat, and that this river led to Elysium, from 
whence it was quite easy to walk to Sumbu in half a day. 
I therefore yielded to his persuasions, and after breakfast 
we again set sail in the gentle day breeze, coming in the 
afternoon round a great corner to a land. of reeds. Far 
away to the north there was another corner, but in between 
there was nothing but a V'Shaj^ed expanse of steaming 
marsh land. Near the northern corner of the V the 
river Lufu opened into the lake, a broad, deep stream, and 
up this stream we went, or I should say we were about to 
go, when from the remnants of the sea-sick blacks there 
emerged in a state of frenzy our female passenger. We 
were passing her village, it appeared, and I put the 
barge about, so that her relatives might fetch her off 
in a canoe. There were some twenty lying on the 
beach, and crowds of men and women were staring at 
us, but not one would shove off a boat to take our 
passenger ashore. One said he could not row, and 
another said he could not swim, while a third told us 
at the top of his voice that he owned no canoe on 
that beach and could use no one else’s. I therefore 
ordered the sail to be hauled up again and we slid away 
up the stream. As soon as they saw we were going 
several canoes put off, but the wind was fresh, and do 
what they would we slipped up the stream before them. 
After an hour’s pursuit these boats arrived at another 
village near the inner end of the swamps about two 
hundred yards behind us, and here more relatives of our 
passenger took up the chase ; some ran on foot beside 
the river banks, some pulled up the stream in boats, and 
all yelled and shouted with laughter at the exceeding great 
humour of the white man. About five miles further up 
the wind dropped in a gorge, and our passenger was dis- 



embarked amid tumultuous shouting of the crowd of 
natives who had followed in our wake. 

In spite of Sambo’s prophecies, I found nothing Elysian 
in this place we had reached ; it did, in fact, far more 
forcibly to my mind suggest the gates of hell. The 

A volcanic cliff on the North shore of l^ake Kivu, with Western wall of the great 
Valley of the I^kes in the distance. 

valley of the river had narrowed, and it now wound 
through a deep gorge, between steep, black and almost 
red-hot hills. Through this weird channel we punted and 
perspired until about four o’clock, when all at once the 
gorge came to an end, opening suddenly into a vast 
expanse, where we found ourselves in a great flat-bottomed 
basin fringed with steep and lofty hills. The flat was 




covered with grass and many miles across. Its course ran 
east and west along the river, and to the south it was 
bounded by a line of lofty precipices very like those a few 
miles to the east, which we had seen in the morning 
falling into Tanganyika itself. This place is the Lwendwi 
valley, and some miles further up its bed there is an 
Arab village. We reached this about sunset, and I was 
courteously received by a young Arab called Kabunda, 
who appeared to be the feudal lord of the place. He was 
accompanied by a black Sultana who had been the old 
chief’s wife. She was the blackest woman I ever saw, 
with a genial, wrinkled face. She wore an extraordinary 
garment, a sort of chemise, made of a circle of blue calico 
in which she had cut holes for her head and her arms. 
The skirt of this garment came about to her knees, and 
on each leg she wore several pounds of fine brass wire. 
These people gave me coffee in real cups, and as a great 
treat unearthed some biscuits which had become quite 
dark, having been handled for years by the Arab, his 
wives and his followers, and which as far as I could make 
out had been given to him by Joseph Thomson ! He 
refused to allow me to put up my own tent, and with true 
Arab courtesy had one of his own put up instead. He 
was very anxious to know why I had come to Tanganyika, 
how long I was going to stop, and what I was going to 
do there. We lit pipes, and I told him I had come to 
fish — to see, in fact, how many kinds of fish there were 
in the lake, that it was interesting to the white Queen’s 
people to know this. I told him also that I wanted shells 
and any other lake animals that there might be. At all 
this the black queen grinned, while Kabunda in his polite 
Arab way informed me that he regarded me as a really 
beautiful liar, that I was better at lying than even Nassa 


bin Hassim, a grey old bird of an Arab who acted as priest 
to the household. 

After he had gone I sat wondering what was the in- 
wardness of Sambo’s partiality for this place, for Sambo 
had been in this country before, under what conditions I 

A nearer view of the volcanic cliffs on the North shore of I^ike Kivu, showing 
the stratification of the ash. 

could never clearly ascertain. Sambo had said nothing 
about this village. Sambo had also a habit of getting 
oiled all over and married whenever we stayed long 
enough in"i place for the ceremony to be performed, and 
I began to divine that in all probability there was sonie 


moon-faced beauty here of his former acquaintance, and 
that there would probably be trouble later. In this I was 
not wrong. We left the village next day at daybreak, 
and after bidding farewell to Kabunda and- the black 
queen of the district, 1 set off on a stony path towards 
the hills. I had not gone far, however, before the well- 
known hubbub arose behind that invariably betokens a 
row, and looking back I discerned two ancient hags 

Aden paddles his own canoe North of I,ake Kivu. 

approaching me and jabbering at the top of their voices. 
When they approached I learnt that my Askari had de- 
camped with a daughter of each of them, both of whom 
he was going to marry on the first opportunity. The 
men came slowly up, and the two disobedient maidens 
were found carefully sandwiched in between the porters 
who were carrying loads. It was now a question of pay- 
ment in cloth for compensation, and the docking of 
Sambo’s pay to a proportionate amount. Thus ended my 



first excursion to Sumbu in the Lwendwi valley, which is 
one of the most remarkable features of this district. It is 
now in possession of the son of an old Arab, and of the 
black Sultana in her blue cotton chemise with pounds of 
brass wire round her ankles. It is one of the most beauti- 
ful places in the world, and it has the reputation of being 
one of the most iniquitous among the natives. It was 
therefore beloved of Sambo, and it was for this reason that 
I was landed in it. 



“ A ship was lying on the sunny main, 

Its sails were flagging in the breathless noon, 

Its shadow lay heyond.*’ 

— Shelley. 

From the recollections of my former journey which caused 
the digressions of the last chapter, I returned much 
against my will to the question of the Good News, that 
small, dilapidated, unsavoury craft round which Mr, Ewing, 
the managing director of the African Lakes Corporation, 
had told me in London that the commerce and develop- 
ment of the Tanganyika region were shortly going to 
centre. This was, of course, before I had arranged to 
charter the craft, and all the way up 1 had felt as if the 
African Lakes Corporation, Limited, was conferring upon 
the expedition a sort of generous gift, in the interests of 
pure science, in allowing me to charter this boat at any 
price ; for she was the only steamer on Tanganyika — that 
is, in a district of such momentous, such supreme import- 
ance as Northern Rhodesia Fortunately, the powers that 
be have bestowed on man a saving sense of the humour of 
things, and through this blessing one can laugh in places, 
even in the inside of that steamer, and under circumstances 
where the practical or human part of our being would in- 
fallibly resort to dynamite. The condition of the boat was 
beyond all description, and it was notorious throughout the 



land ; even the rough hardihood of a Scotch boiler maker 
revolted when I suggested on the verandah of the new 
mission at Kinyamkolo, that my object in coming was to 
get him to renovate her cockroachy and cow-dung-be- 
spattered inside. It was one thing to build a section boat 
for the Congo Free State on the sweltering shores of 
Tanganyika ; it was another to attempt to do anything 
with the Augean stable of the Good News. I pointed out 
to him, however, what great ends of science would be 
served ; I showed him that, if he would only mend that 
steamer, the people who must shortly flock into this much 
boomed land of super-heated promise would at any rate 
have new shells and jellyfish to look at ; and finally, when 
his silence at my fervid, if unintelligible, eloquence ap- 
peared to give consent, I pointed out how, if he would get 
her to steam, I would do all I could do as the leader of the 
Tanganyika Expedition to impress his employers with the 
e.xtraordinary nature of the services which he had rendered 
that expedition, because to clean that steamer was no joke. 
And I prevailed. 

We returned to Kituta ; we took the Good News over 
to Kalambo, we took also four oil drums of cockroaches as 
big as locusts out of her inside, we filled her with hot 
water and Izal, and corrosive sublimiite, and carbolic acid, 
and Condy’s fluid, and Keating’s insect powder, and finally 
we tightened up her joints. We screwed on a new 
cylinder top and lighted up her fires, till she snorted and 
grunted and shook like a coffee mill, and finally moved out 
over the hot oily water of the lake, no less than three 
miles in one hour. We had accomplished our ends ; we 
had not only demonstrated to our satisfaction that there 
was a steamer on Tanganyika, but also that, with great 
care and extremely gentle treatment, she would go, and 



much might be expected of her. She would at any rate 
suffice for me to get my shells and jellyfish. We there- 
fore decided to start up the lake, first going to Kalambo, 
then to Sumbu, and then away to the north. We crossed 
the lake without breakdown, and reached Sumbu, at the 
extreme south-west of the great gulf known as Cameron 
Bay, just as the last rays of the sun were flaring over the 
forest which stretches thence to Mwero, and on the follow- 
ing day we finally set out for the north. 

The northern coast of the gulf in which Sumbu lies is 
formed by a lofty range of steep forest-clad mountains, 
which terminate to the east in the desolate headland of 
Nbogo. The wind had freshened as we neared the point, 
raising the dark blue water into crested waves, which made 
the old tub rattle and shake. The headland itself is a 
mighty mass of almost black rock, rising out of deep water 
to a height of seven or eight hundred feet ; when rounded, 
it sweeps back to the west, and stands above a low coast 
of fantastic bays and islands, where there were numbers 
of solitary black natives perched on the rocks, fishing like 
cormorants. Not far beyond, and behind a small hill, is 
the village of Mlelos, and here we cast anchor, just as it 
grew dark. We went on shore later to take observations, 
but found it in possession of flies ; little soft-winged, soft- 
bodied brutes, that squeaked and whistled round our heads. 
They walked in dozens into our eyes, and down our 
throats, and into our ears. They swarmed through the 
air holes in the lamp till it went out, and crawled in thou* 
sands over the bright silver rims and circles of the theo- 
dolite, while all around in the hot darkness there rose the 
clamour of innumerable frogs. Some of these twanged 
like the strings of a harp, some brayed like a cross be- 
tween a sheep and a donkey, while there was one peculiar 



deep wet-voiced individual in the corner of the bay who 
came into the general chorus only at intervals, like a 
double bass. 

Next day we left early, and struck diagonally up the 
lake. We had steamed in a north-easterly direction for 
some two hours, and then the engines came suddenly to a 

On the North shore of I^ake Kivu. 

standstill ; something had worked loose, and till Fergusson 
and the native engine boy had got it right, it was impos- 
sible to move. As we lay idly on the warm, oily water, 
about five miles off the great cliffs of the harbourless west 
coast, I sat and smoked, for I judged from the expletives 
which now and then became audible in the engine-room, 
that it would be better not to enquire what was wrong. 
I also wondered what would happen to us in this old 



craft if something came loose in this sort of way while 
we were off such a coast as that which lay away to the 
west and there was a gale blowing towards it. There 
was hardly a plate in the old tub that would stand even, 
being run on a soft sandy beach, and it was not pleasant 
to reflect what would happen if we were blown aground 
on that iron-bound coast, round the black rocks, in 
front of which the surf wheeled in circles. All this, 
however, was in the future ; at the moment there was 
no wind, and the sea was an oily sheet of glassy 

blueness, shut in above by the warm, unfathomably 

deeper blueness of the sky, and crossed to the west by 
the rocky outlines of capes and bays, as weird and 
fantastic as those upon which the sirens sang of old. 
The early noon sun was flaming above, and we were 
silently drifting, with the slight swell and the slighter 
breeze, into the little known northern waters of the 
great lake. The men lay idly about the decks and I 
threw out a line, some three hundred yards of it, 
with a patent spinner on the end, a spinner which 
looked bright enough and big enough to catch a 
shark. In a little while there was a jerk on the line 
and a splash far behind, and I found I had hooked some 
big silvery fish, which pulled with great vigour as I 
hauled it in. It turned out to be an immense bass, 

the same kind of fish, in fact, which had attacked my 

paddles when on the way to Sumbu, on my former 
visit to the lake. After about an hour the steamer 
began to snort and rattle again, and we lumbered 
along once more towards the opposite coast. It was 
almost dark, however, when we neared the land, 
coming in with much caution among the rocky islands, 
that rose in all directions, carrying tufts of trees above 


their huge grey rocks. The water round these islands 
is deep, and it was quite dark before we reached an 
anchorage near the actual coast. To right and left 
high rocky mountains towered up among the stars, 
while in front there lay what appeared to be a wall 

The start at sunrise North from Lake Kivu. 

ot solid rock some thousand yards away to the east. 
As we cautiously slid on I was standing in the bows, 
and just about to call out to the boy to slow the 
engines,' when we suddenly touched ground with a 
gentle bump ; at the same time, the seeming wall of 


rock ahead suddenly showed up right under our bows, 
and resolved itself as suddenly, not into rock at all, 
but into the tall wall of reeds fringing a river’s mouth. 
The crew leaped overboard with a yell, and pushed 
the steamer off again, and .we finally anchored about 
forty or fifty yards from the beach. This place was 
Msambu, and next morning we found it was a very 
weird and very hot place indeed. All round there 
were innumerable islands formed of huge boulder-like 
rocks, which had been weathered into massive rounded 
forms, appearing now exactly as if they had been 
piled in heaps during the games of giants all about the 
place. It was indeed these same fantastic products 
of weathering and denudation which suggested to 
Stanley the view that there had been in this part of 
Tanganyika some vast convulsion, of which the 
curiously piled and rounded rocks were the remains. 

We stayed two days in Msambu, fishing with nets 
and lines and killing rock fishes wholesale with 
dynamite. In this way I found several entirely new 
species, and we finally set out once more on our 
voyage north. 

It was also about this time that the different 
individualities of our men began to make themselves 
apparent. We had with us on the boat our Zanzi- 
bari head man, Omari bin Omari, a fine upstanding, 
soldierly figure, with a curiously soft voice and pleasant 
manner.. We had also his son, Omari Kidogo, or in 
English “ Omari the Little,” and we had as well my 
Somali boy Aden, who spoke both English and Hin- 
dustani besides Somali. Of this person’s sense of 
humour I had already had occasion to become aware, 
for while we were at Karonga, at the North of Lake 


Nyassa, he had come to me one day complaining that 
he had nothing to eat. There was a store at Karonga, 
where they kept rice and other things which natives 
generally want. I sent him with a note to the 

European agent, asking him to give this boy what he 
wanted, and charge it to my account. I expected, 

of course, he would get some pounds of rice, and 
possibly some sugar and tea, both of which Somalis 
like. When we left, however, the agent presented me 
with a bill about two feet long, among the items of 
which were included coffee, sugar, tea, rice, preserved 
milk, figs, salt, butter, flour, biscuits, curry powder, 
eau de cologne, and jam. In fact, there was enough 
stuff to stock a small country shop. I therefore 
called the Somali up and asked him what he was 
going to do with all these goods, and how he was going 

to carry them. To which he replied he did not know, 

but that he was a Somali, and fed “ just like a European, 
sah, just like a European.” I informed him that possibly 
he did, but that on this occasion he must learn to 
feed as other Somalis fed, and that all this stuff would have 
to be returned, with the exception of the sugar and 
the tea. And after this one attempt at trying it on, 
he made an excellent boy. He w^ls a good tailor, 
and he knew how to look after the odds and ends 
in one’s tent. Somalis are generally just like children ; 
when we landed at Chind^, this boy was carrying 
some things of mine from the beach, into the pale of 
the English concession. It was after hours, and the 
native guard refused to let him through. As he 
foolishly persisted they seized him and knocked him 
about \yith their rifle butts, taking his bundle up to 
the consulate. Later on I found him sitting discon- 


solate on the beach, looking mournfully out ' over the 
waste of the ocean towards Somaliland, like a bronze 
statue of despair. When he saw me, he exclaimed, 
“ This place no dam good, sah. This bad place, 
full of bad dam people, me go to find you in the 
fort, sah ; but plenty thieves in this place, they hit 
me and take your things, sah ; me want to go back 
to Somaliland right away.” His use of correct English 
and American idioms was very amusing. One day on 
Kivu, when we were coasting up the lake, he suddenly 
suggested to me about three o’clock in the afternoon 
that we should camp. I told him it was too early, 
but he said, “ Good place here, sah, camp ; we go 
on no place, then dark ; when dark and no camp, 
then gentlemens they comes in, and it is all bloody 
fool and damnation.” 

The old pilot who belonged to the boat was called 
Kigara ; he was the navigating officer and wheelman, 
and the men said he could steer while he was asleep. 
Perhaps he could. I found out, anyway, that he could 
sleep while he steered. He was a weird, wrinkled, 
tall, gaunt man about six feet two, with a partiality 
for strong drink. Not that he got drunk, but that 
he liked it. There was an engine boy called Germin, 
who wore the cockroach-hunting engineer’s gold-laced 
cap and very little else, and looked like an ebony 
caricature of a Cornish fisherman ; and there was 
Juma, a sort of head man of the crew. 

The more I saw of Omari the better I liked him, 
and he turned out to be, in fact, one of the best 
head men I have ever known. In Zanzibar he was 
a person of some importance ; the men respected his 
direct speech and his big imposing form, and 1 never 



saw a porter or any of the men disobey or question 
an order from him. It is of very little importance in 
British Central Africa, or in the better known parts 
of the country, what kind of head man one has, but 
in the more remote interior, African travel depends as 
largely upon the head man as does an army upon its 
sergeants. It is the native head man, and the native 
head man only, who can tell you the real condition of 
the porters, when in any particular place, whether they 
have food and shelter, and anything else it may be 
necessary to know. It is the head man who can work 
the whole caravan into good humour towards the 
European leaders, for although the porters will agree 
to anything the leaders say, it is only the head man 
who can explain the necessities of the case from a 
native point of view, and get the natives themselves 
to believe that the Europeans are neither fools nor 
playthings. Talking about Omari leads to other reflec- 
tions concerning natives. I have always felt that there 
is something really pathetic, at any rate to me, about 
a black man, when he is better than a black man 
ought to be. They are sometimes so infinitely superior 
in every human attribute to many of our white 
acquaintances, and yet in spite of it they are niggers 
still. It is probable that all men of this sort are to 
be pitied ; it is therefore also probable that all men 
are pitiable, whether white or black, except the cut- 
throat and the costermonger “ when he has finished 
jumping on his mother.” So it seems that reflecting upon 
niggers who are better than they should be, leads to 
the belief that it is only the criminals among mankind 
who are^ not to be pitied, a singular state of mind to 
have arrived at on Lake Tanganyika. But as a matter of 


fact the great African lakes are apt to cause many reflec- 
tions besides those from their perennially summer skies. 

On our journey north from Msambu we encountered 
another blow, this time from the north-west, and during 
the day. The early morning was bright and warm, and so 
the day continued till about ten o’clock, when a fresh breeze 
rose, which flicked the blue water into dancing white cre.sts, 
and, gradually increasing in strength, by eleven it was 
blowing a pretty stiff gale right on our bows. The waves, 
moreover, had risen in proportion, and the little steamer 
doing her three and a half knots per hour plunged into 
the great blue waves, hardly making any headway at all, 
while the screw raced in an ominous manner. We were 
not more than half a mile from the rocky coast peculiar to 
the place, and as the gale and sea increased, we anxiously 
waited for something to smash in the crazy engine room, 
for, if it had, we should instantly have gone to pieces on 
those tall grey rocks over which the surf spurted in white 
jets to leeward. We remained thus hour after hour, won- 
dering how long it would be before something gave way, 
but all the time the sky remained serene and clear, and 
the sun came slanting through the great waves in mar- 
vellous blues and greens, and lighting up their dazzling 
crests of spray. Late in the afternoon the gale had 
somewhat moderated, and in spite of wind and sea we 
succeeded in getting round a headland as far as Kirendo, 
turning sharply in among the wooded islands, and rolling 
fearfully.. At Kirendo there is one of Cardinal Lavi- 
gerie’s mission stations of White Fathers, and on landing 
I received a note from the Father Superior asking in the 
name of all things for curry powder, as he naturally sup- 
posed that we were the cockroach-hunting skipper of 
former days. Fergusson and I called on them late in the 


afternoon and sat long on the verandah of this solitary 
European Mission, in the midst of the still, dark, African 
interior, for there was a sublime view to the north over 
a vast marshy plain, which was bounded to the west by 
the yellow sand of the shore and the lake, and to the east 
by the lonely inland hills. The green and gold of the 

A camp in the famine-stricken country North offtake Kivu. 

plain and the superb blue of the sky above the still ruffled 
surface of the lake, made up a wonderful colour effect to 
the north, while there was at the same time the marvellous 
African clearness in the air, whereby every crag and out- 
line of the lofty mountains was delicately clear and sharp, 
although ^hey must have been sixty miles away. 

It was here for the first time that we began to perceive 




that we were running out of the climate of the southern 
tropics into that of the Equator itself. On Nyassa there 
is one long wet season, beginning in November and 
lasting till April, and one long dry season which fills up 
the rest of the year. At the south end of Tanganyika the 
dry season begins in May and lasts till September, when 
there is generally a short spell of rain for about three 
weeks ; after this the weather remains dry till about 
Christmas, when the long rains begin. As one goes north 
from this point the short rains become longer and the long 
rains become shorter, until, in the equatorial region, the 
rains follow the sun almost exactly ; that is, whenever the 
sun is overhead it rains, and there are therefore two wet 
seasons and two dry seasons, two springs and two autumns, 
two summers and two winters, so that in these parts you 
really do succeed in living so fast that you get two whole 
years into one. On Tanganyika, as on Nyassa, it is at 
the beginning and the end of the dry season that the big 
gales occur. We were now near the interval between the 
little rains and the long rains ; the weather was gradually 
becoming damper and hotter, while in the afternoon 
immense white clouds would gather over the distant moun- 
tains, rising towards sunset into huge fantastic shapes, over 
the cavernous hollows and promontories of which lightning 
played for hours in brilliant straggling threads, now red, 
now green, now blue. 

Very often at this time, the end of the dry season, 
when the surface of the ground and the lakes is very hot, 
there occur the most wonderful mirage effects. They 
appear generally in an exaggerated form, of what sailors 
call the sea line, when the . capes and islands appear to be 
raised above the ground and flying in the air. The effect 
is produced by the reflection of these capes and islands 

7.000 feet. 

[J^refm a Photograph. 



appearing in the hot air, which covers the lakes as if it 
were a thick sheet of glass, and I once saw a beautiful 
example of this sort of mirage on Lake Shirwa. There 
was a long line of huge white storks, more than a hundred 
of them flying away from me over the lake ; they were 
gradually descending towards the reflecting surface of the 
hot air, and as they neared this, in the distance their 
reflected images were distinctly visible in the air surface, 
each bird above gradually approaching its inverted image 
below, till they came together, when both suddenly dis- 
appeared below the air surface, as if they had dived into 
the water of the lake itself. The meteorological conditions 
of Central Africa are a never-ending source of interest. 
In season, and sometimes out of it, when I ought to have 
been fishing or attending to the endless requirements of 
the men, I have spent hours and hours watching the 
sublime procession of events which is for ever going 
forward at certain seasons in the sky. Storm and sun- 
shine alternate here, not as they do with us, in badly 
differentiated spells of good and bad weather, but with a 
local suddenness and fury that suggest our experiences 
of the meteorological cataclysms produced sometimes in 
pantomimes, or in the vivid scenery of the dramas at the 

During the dry season the wind blows more or less 
steadily from the south-east, and the first intimation of 
the approaching rain is a disturbance of the regularity 
of these winds. Fits of fury alternate with periods of 
stifling calm, and during these, if one has the opportunity, 
it is well to go up on some high mountain top, about 
seven or eight thousand feet in the air, for it is at such 
times and from such places that we can watch in every 
detail the formation of tropical storms. I once spent a 

8 * 



whole day in this way lying on my stomach, on a moun- 
tain about seven thousand feet high, which looked over 
Lake Nyassa, while my friend, Mr. Crawshay, ran breath- 
lessly about after butterflies, to the huge delight of 
the men I had brought up with me, and who were 
not used to him. About two thousand feet above the 

View over the clouds, and of the extinct cones of Sabieen and Karisimbi from the 
summit of the active Kirungu-cha-gungu at an altitude of 11,350 feet. 

surface of the lake — that is, about four thousand feet 
above the sea — there was an air surface which showed a 
faint reflection of the distant hills to the east fifty miles 
away. This lower mass of air was in contact with the 
hot plains and with the lake itself, and every now and 
then a spout of air would burst as it were through the 
reflecting surface, as if it were a skin, its course being 
marked by a rapidly rising cloud. These clouds grew 



like those coming from a locomotive funnel, but on a 

vast scale, and as they towered up twenty to thirty 

thousand feet in the air, a black deluge of rain could be 

seen pouring from their centres, and trailing over the 

plains, or over the surface of the lake. Again and again 
these clouds would rise, first as a little puff of white 
vapour, like that of a cannon shot, but which rapidly grew 
and bellied out into a huge mass thirty thousand feet in 
height. At the top of such masses the mist spreads 
gradually out in the upper air into a thin canopy, which 
opens like a huge umbrella, and encloses and overshadows 
the cumulus core. After rain has fallen for some time 
these great cloud structures disintegrate, and finally topple 
about the sky in those sublime dissolving cloud shapes 
which, when lit up by the sunset, form one of the most 
marvellous features of this portion of the world. 



“ We have had enough of action and of motion we, 

Roll’d to starboard, Roll’d to larboard when the surge was seething free, 
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam -fountains in the sea.” 

— The Lotos-eaters. 

From Kirendo we again journeyed north, and, after 
another gale from the north-west, reached Mpimbi, 
where the White Fathers have another small mission, 
not far south of the ill-fated station of Karama. 
From this place we again set out in the evening, 
intending to go diagonally across the lake to Tembwi, 
in the Congo Free State. When we left the wind 
had dropped, but there was still a heavy swell running 
from the north-west. What wind there was now came 
from the south-east, and we were consequently pitching 
leisurely into the swell. The wind was passing us, 
and the sparks from the wood fire in the engine 
room were flying forward. After we had shown 
Kigera what stars to steer by I could see these 
sparks flying across the hatch from where I lay on 
my bunk in the saloon. I saw them flying thus as 
we pitched along for several hours, and "then I must 
have slept for some time. When I woke we were 
no longer pitching easily, but were rolling in a 
frantic manner ; the sparks, moreover, were no longer 



flying forward, but across from right to left. We must 
for some reason have changed our course, and when I 
got up on deck I found that the sky had become over- 
cast, that Kigera had lost his stars, and that by the 
compass, which he never could learn to read, we were 
heading south-west again down the middle of the lake. 
How long we had been steering thus I could not say, 
but it must have been for several hours, for as soon as 
it became daylight, after reverting to our original course, 
the promontory beside Kirendo was still but a few miles 
to the south. Instead, therefore, of running for Tembwi, 
we headed off towards a point called Kibogo, where 
there was an island marked on the map. With a 
steamer like the Good News an island is always a 
useful thing, for if it blows, and the worst having 
come to the worst, there is no anchorage, one can 
at any rate lie about on the lee side of it. We 
steamed until the afternoon, and about five o’clock 
came into a most extraordinary place. The low coast 
line was flanked inland by a long mass of lonely, 
solemn mountains, which ran from this place north 
as far as Edith Bay, while the mass of rock which is 
represented on Code H ore’s map as an island was 
now, we found, connected with the mainland by a 
sand spit, a sort of Chesil Bank in miniature. To 
the leeward of the bank there lay a native dhow, the 
occupants of which were camped on the bank. They 
bolted when they first saw us, but afterwards sold 
us fowls for cloth, etc. ; they also showed some of 
our men the way to a village where they could buy 
grain and bananas for themselves. On the beach 
there were several couple of wild duck, and on the 
scrubby plains bordering the lake a certain amount 



of game. After staying in this singular place shooting 
and fishing for a couple of days, we finally set out 
for Tembwi, and crossed without incident of any sort, 
the journey just occupying the whole day. During 
the voyage the lofty northern end of the Kibogo 
mountains showed up magnificently, one peak being a 
splendid precipitous mass, probably not far short of 
twelve thousand feet in height. From Tembwi it was 
my intention to go north along the coast as far as the 
Luakuga river, which forms the outlet of Tanganyika, 
and after spending two days at Tembwi, shooting 
and fishing and dredging, we proceeded to carry this 
project out. 

Immediately north of Tembwi the west coast of 
Tanganyika has a very peculiar appearance. It is 
formed of rounded, apparently water-worn rock faces, 
which rise steeply and bare from the water’s edge, 
and then sweep more gradually into a mountainous 
forest belt, which is topped inland by a number of 
lonely grassy summits. In the rock faces of the 
shore there are caves and gullies, within and about 

which the long swells of the lake spout and boom, 

like those of some great ocean coast. 

The whole of the land to the west, from Mlcloes 
on Tanganyika to Lake Kivu itself, is of a very 

rugged mountainous character, deep and damp forest-clad 
glens ramifying in all directions between huge rounded 
domes of granite, covered with short grass, and rising 
to a height of six to eight thousand feet. The 
country is trackless and unmapped, the people are 
wild and not too friendly, and it is only at Mleloes 
and Mtoa that the officials of the Congo Free State 
have attempted to hold any portion of the lake. 



Their hold on these points is, however, anything but 
secure, and at the time of our visit the whole of 
the coast north of Mtoa was in a state of open war and 
chaos, owing to the presence of bands of rebel soldiers, 
who were more or less successfully resisting the Congo 

View across the great Valley of the I^kes from the Northern slopes of the 
Mfumbiro Mountains. 

authorities and waging war on their own account on 
the natives round about. 

But to return to the Luakuga. It may be remem- 
bered by those interested in the early exploration of 
the great African Lakes that when Stanley and Living- 
stone looked for the outlet of the lake in 1875 they 
did not find it at the north end, and that the Arabs 


told them that the lake had no outlet at all. Subse- 
quently Stanley visited the Luakuga, and had to place 
straws upon the surface of the river to see which 
way the water ran. So also Cameron described it as 
blocked by a dam of tropical vegetation. Joseph 
Thomson, on the other hand, crossed it below the 
lake, and found it there, as he said, a great river, 
which was “ whirling away to the west ” ; and finally 
Code Hore found it in the same condition. 'I'hus, 
from these different observations, taken at different 
dates, it would appear that Tanganyika has at some time 
overflowed, and at others not overflowed, into the sea, 
the existence of these periods of stagnation is pro- 
bably, at least in part, the cause of the slight salinity 
of the water of the lake. Further, if we examine 
the pictures given by Stanley of the south end of 
the lake, we find that there are a number of tall old 
trees standing near the shore at Kituta, immediately 
behind the beach where he had moored his boats. 
The same trees are standing in the same place now, 
but the beach has become nearly a mile wide ; it has, 

in fact, become converted into a great sandy plain, 

covered with plantations and wild cotton flowers. It is 
obvious from this and similar observations which can 
be made all round the lake, that the water has fallen 
rapidly within the last few years. It is also true, as we 
have seen, that at certain periods the Luakuga has 
not flowed out, or hardly flowed out at all, and it 
seems extremely probable that in its course some 

obstacle finally gave way, whereby the water of the 

whole lake gradually sank until it reached its present 
level. My own impression about the matter is, that it is 
some soft rock bar that has disappeared from its course, 


13 * 

and that the lake will never again rise to its old 
level, for there is no evidence of a tendency for a 
dam of vegetation to be formed periodically, such as 
Cameron supposed. The matter, however, is more 
fully discussed in the volume dealing with the scientific 
results of the present expedition. 

Cannibals on the plains. 

The Luakuga flows out of Tanganyika through a gap 
in the vast western wall of the lake, and its mouth is 
fronted by an immense plain of sand, now covered with 
reeds, with pools of stagnant water and scattered clumps 
of trees. ' Running in towards the coast, we found it to be 
made up of very lumpy irregular little hills of sandstone. 



fringed by a long gleaming line of yellow shore sand. One 
valley near the coast seemed to be lower than the rest, and 
where it approached the lake it looked from the deck of our 
steamer actually lower than the lake itself. This the men 
said was the opening of the Luakuga. Among other tall 
stories I had heard on the way up, I had been warned of 
the great danger of being swept into this river, steamer 
and all, by the swift outrush of water from the lake. I 
had been told of Arab dhows being carried away over its 
rapids out of sight and out of mind, by people who said 
they had been on the spot ; and so as we approached the 
coast we were careful to keep well away from the mouth, 
crossing far out to the north, and then standing in towards 
the land. As we approached, the water grew very shallow, 
and at least two miles from shore was no more than three 
fathoms deep, and we ultimately anchored in an absolutely 
exposed position about a thousand yards from the beach. 

Next morning Fergusson and I landed and marched 
along the sand in company with a crowd of yelling friendly 
niggers, who came to escort us to the unique out-flowing 
Luakuga, their own particular river. The shore was 
covered with innumerable game tracks, and the gelatinous 
eggs of molluscs ; we crossed a small stream flowing into 
the lake, and finally came to the Luakuga itself. The 
river consisted of a very shallow, insignificant out-flowing 
stream of water not more than a foot deep, and leaving the 
lake by three or four small channels, each about the size of 
an English trout stream. As we passed down the course 
of the river these streams collected into one channel, 
which, after a short distance, took a sharp bend to the 
south, running round a high, soft sandstone bluff; and 
here it was obvious from the old cuttings and pot-holes 
that the river at one time had been of considerable mag- 



dnitude, that instead of being but a few feet deep and 
perhaps ten yards wide, there had been at least a hundred 
feet of water flowing down with great force, and some 
hundreds of yards in width. This excursion completed, 
I returned to the steamer rather anxiously, for a fresh 
breeze was blowing, and the beach, off which she was 

A village garden on the plains North of the Mfumbiro Mountains in the floor 
of the great Valley of the I^kes. 

anchored, lay open to the south-east sweep of the lake. We 
left at once for Mtoa, and came in amongst the picturesque 
islands which surround the place about ten o’clock at 
night. It was indeed very fortunate we left the Luakuga 
when wC' did, for a terrific gale arose in the night, and 
although we appeared to be completely sheltered where we 



lay, I was constantly up, fearing that the anchors might 
drag owing to the wind and surf. 

Mtoa is now the head-quarters of the officers of the 
Congo Free State upon Tanganyika, and after an early 
breakfast on board our boat we went on shore to pay them 
our respects. I wanted also to ask their views about the 
Luakuga. They received us most cordially, but although 
they were but some thirty miles from the outlet of 
Tanganyika, none of these officers had ever visited the 
place ; in fact, they seemed much more bent on bringing 
Europe into Africa than in getting to know anything 
about Africa from a European standpoint. We found 
them under a broad, shady verandah, arranged just as it 
would have been in a Brussels caf«£ ; they were sitting at 
little round tables and drinking absinthe, at which we 
joined them, and talked bad French and Swahili mixed, 
until our hosts took us in to lunch in a neat summer-house 
used as a mess-room, which let in the glorious view of the 
lake through the wooden pillars on which its roof was 
supported. The table was covered with flowers and the 
portraits of pretty French actresses, and I remember that 
there was also a most delicious salad and some real red 
wine, and that we finally all stood up and drank the health 
of the King of the Belgians. While we were there, one of 
the officers, who had gone up the lake to attempt to relieve 
Captain Haec in his operations against the rebel soldiers, 
returned to Mtoa in a dhow ; he came up the path gesticu- 
lating and explaining everything to everybody in rapid 
French, accompanied by rough diagrams on the leaves of 
his note-book, which were blowing all over the place, and 
on which were depicted the positions from which his dhow 
had been fired at by the enemy. There were bullets in his 
boat, bullets in his hat, bullets everywhere ; he was very 



hot, he was covered with Tanganyika dust, and filled with 
French military glory. When we left Mtoa it was already 
late, and before we had cleared the rocky islands covered 
with trees, which form the harbour, it was well into the 
afternoon. As we passed out into the great blue body of 
the lake it became apparent that the wind of the previous 
night had risen again, and that we were again going to 
have a boisterous time ; in fact, wc rolled dismally from 
the first, and ever more dismally as we went along. The 
cursed old tub jangled and rattled to such a degree that 
both Fergusson and I were continually starting up with the 
idea that the engines had at last fallen bodily through, 
into the bottom of the lake. Towards evening the sea 
grew enormous, and the wind from being south-east veered 
into the east, so that we lurched over the old sea and 
rolled in the trough of the new. Our hands got stiff with 
holding on to the rails, or anything else we could clutch, 
and it was a great relief when at last we got north of the 
vast watery expansion of the lake which lies opposite 
Mtoa, and out of which the wind brought the seas like 
battering rams right on our beam. It was late before we 
finally ran in under the coast, but at last it loomed 
gloomily up in the wild evening light, a wilderness of 
crags and rocks and trees. Kigara knew his way, how- 
ever, and we at last slipped in between two forest-clad 
headlands, finding ourselves at rest in the smooth water of 
the beautiful little harbour of Masswa. The bay ends in a 
long horseshoe-shaped stretch of sand, beyond which were 
the dim outlines of heavy woods. Later on the moon rose, 
and jackals came down on to the sand howling dismally at 
the boat. We slept the dreamless sleep of the tired, and 
awoke to find that the sun was already up over the fragrant 
inland woods, and that the men who had set my trammel 


net the night before were already bringing it in, laden with 
huge crabs and glittering silvery fish. 

In the afternoon we steamed out to dredge, but after 
about two hours decided to put back again, for a wild 
storm had gathered over the mountains in the east, and 
fierce squalls of wind came flying off the land, lashing the 
water up into bristling lines of foam. The old boat could 
scarcely make any way against the wind, and as we slowly, 
very slowly, forged back into the bay in its teeth, the 
storm was upon us. The heavens literally scowled, huge 
dark clouds rolled overhead, showing vast rents and chasms 
in their drifting forms, while underneath from the east 
advanced a dark blank arch of rain. From the edge of 
this and from the clouds themselves vivid lightning played 
without intermission, now flying in wild erratic vibrating 
tracks, now falling, a single steel-blue streak across 
the rain sheet, to the ground. The noise of the 
thunder grew absolutely deafening, and as the rain 
swept over us with a dull roar the outer world seemed 
to sink suddenly into a mysterious, indistinct, rustling, 
watery gloom, which was lit only, but lit every instant, 
by the blue flare of the lightning, and shaken with 
the continuous sonorous boom and the sharp spluttering 
crash of the thunder. I confess I don’t like thunderstorms. 
English ones are bad enough, but these tropical pande- 
moniums are a bit too much ; they have only one redeem- 
ing point, they go almost as quickly as they come. In an 
hour the sky was as serene and clear as ever, while in the 
air was the freshness of rain ; the bay resounded with 
frogs — frogs that piped, and frogs that whistled, frogs that 
trumpeted like elephants, and frogs that banged on big 
drums. A superb scent of flowers and honey drifted from 
the warm green land, mixed with the singular smell of 



recent rain. Everything seemed, indeed, to have become 
suddenly full of the essence of all that is delightful in a 
country where there is always summer, summer all the year 
round, through all the seasons, and always has been 
through all the years since Africa has been Africa at all. 

Men cutting- up a Hartebeest on the desert plains South of the 
Albert Kdward Nyanza. 




There stands a city — neither large nor small, 

Its air and situation sweet and pretty. 

It matters very little — if at all — 

Whether its denizens arc dull or witty ; 

Whether the ladies there are short or tall, 

brunettes or blondes, only there stands a city ! 

— The Ghost, 

On my former expedition, when Tanganyika itself was 
my northern turning point, I had often looked over the 
limitless sheets of the huge lake, trying to conjure up in 
my imagination what the rest of it might be like, and 
trying to picture more particularly what were the sur- 
roundings and the peculiar features of the Arab town of 
Ujiji. For Ujiji is the one place in the whole of the 
African interior which can be called a town ; that is, a 
place where there are stone buildings and live Arabs in 
plenty, as well as the monotonous naked black. The place, 
moreover, is famous in the annals of early African ex- 
ploration, for Ujiji is redolent with the memories of the 
past. Except that the mango trees have grown bigger, 
and the lake has receded from its old front noticeably, I 
do not think it has in other ways much changed since 
the day on which Burton first saw it and the great lake 
he had discovered, in 1856. It was here that Living- 
stone was so long lost, and it was here that Stanley found 
him. The house in which this meeting took place is, I 


am told, now pulled down, but the mango tree they planted 
is still there and flourishing among the self-same clump of 
palms that were growing at the time. Many of the old 
Arabs I saw there still remembered Livingstone, but I 
did not come across any who recollected either Burton or 
Speke. U nlike the districts bordering the Stevenson road 
and the .south-east of Tanganyika, those round Ujiji are 
now fully under the German sway. There is a picturesque 
stone fort overlooking the town, and the Germans are 
firmly established both here and at the north end of the 
lake. In this I think they have shown their usual good 
sense, for a large portion of the country to the south, as 
for example that about the ill-fated station of Karema, is 
as worthless as the whole of the British territory still 
further to the south, right away to Nyassa. On the other 
hand, the country about Ujiji, and especially to the north 
of it, is good agriculturally speaking, producing quantities 
of mangoes, oil palms, and grain. The soil is deep and 
well watered, and it is here for the first time that one 
escapes from the monotonous thin arid forests of the 
south. All about Ujiji the country is open and grassy, 
and affords pasturage for huge lierds of cattle with 
enormous horns. On landing I was met by some well- 
dressed Arabs, who .saluted after the manner of Arabs, 
and escorted me to the German fort, through the tortuous 
ways of the town. Half-way there I was met by the 
German lieutenant in charge of the station, Baron Munch- 
hausen, who, together with Dr. Felthmann, received us in 
the most cordial manner. We drank lager beer, in fact, 
and, what was perhaps really pleasanter still, were in- 
formed that there would probably be no difficulty in our 
going north to Kivu. It was true, the Baron informed us, 
that the rebel soldiers were somewhere near the mouth of 

9 * 



the Rusisi river, but there was already a German camp 
there, which would afford us ample protection, should it 
become necessary. It was also true that Captain Haec, 
the Belgian commandant, was pushing up with a large 
force to the north from Mtoa, and that there might be 
fighting in the neighbourhood of the Rusisi mouth. The 
only thing we had to fear was that, after these encounters, 
bands of fugitive rebels might cross the Rusisi and be 
troublesome along our route. The next question which 
presented itself was that of raising the requisite number 
of men, and this eventually proved the most formidable of 
all. Large numbers of the best of the Ujiji porters had 
already been drafted by the Germans themselves for their 
military operations. Both Baron Miinchhausen and the 
Arab, Bin-Sef-Rachid, informed us that it would be no 
easy matter to raise even 150 men within any reasonable 
time, and I should have liked 250 at least. Moreover, 
porters had returned to Ujiji, spreading reports all over 
the district that the English, as masters, were “ kali sana ” 
(very fierce), so that the men in Ujiji were not at all 
anxious to serve. All this made the question of transport 
look extremely grave. Baron Miinchhausen advised me 
to leave my head-man, Omari, who had served on Colonel 
MacDonald’s disastrous excursion into Uganda and was 
experienced in such matters, to stay with Bin-Sef-Rachid, 
so that his own account of my personal attributes would 
counteract the impression prevalent about the English. 
In accordance with these suggestions, I arranged with Bin- 
Sef-Rachid that Omari should stay with him, while we 
went on in the steamer to the north end of the lake, and 
that during our return journey to the south end of the lake 
and back again, he and Bin-Sef should try to collect as 
many porters at Ujiji as they could. 



Owing to the fall in the lake it has become impossible 
for a boat drawing more than three feet of water to lie 
in what used to be the old harbour of Ujiji immediately 
to the south, while the roadstead opposite the town is 
anything but safe, as it lies completely open to the full 
sweep of the lake. There is, however, a beautiful little 
harbour, about ten miles to the north, known as Kigoma, 

Men cutting up game on the great game plains South of the Albert Edward Nyaiiza. 

and which is in reality the best harbour on Tanganyika. 
It has, however, in conformity with the whole of the 
northern third of the lake, one drawback : wood is ex- 
tremely difficult to obtain. The natives of this district 
are great workers in metal and wire, producing a variety 
of spears, both copper and iron, swords with wooden 
handles, which are skilfully ornamented with brass and 
iron wire, 'and a variety of other things. All these things, 
together with goats, eggs and milk, they barter with great 



zest for blue and white beads and cloth. The women 
about Ujiji are better-looking, or rather, they are not so 
desperately ill-favoured as their dark sisters in the more 
southern portions of the lake and throughout British 
Central Africa, but I have considerable doubts as to 
whether this change is due to Arab admixture, since the 
same alteration for the better is witnessed amongst the 
tribes away to the north, where few or no Arabs have 
ever been. 

North of Ujiji both coasts of the lake are extremely 
steep and rugged ; indeed, that on the east all the 
way from Ujiji to Usambura at the extreme north 
end is, with the exception of one or two broad deltas, 
formed simply by the steep side of a range of high 
and rugged mountains which here plunge in superb 
green slopes into the lake. So steep is the coast- 
line that, on two or three occasions when we tried to 
anchor while the men cut wood for the engines, we 
found It impossible, owing to the great depth of the 
water right up to the coast. U nlike the country 
south of Ujiji, that to the north of it is, as I have 
said, open and grassy, and every valley which we 
passed seemed to be full of palms, bananas, and 
plantations of various sorts of grain, peas, beans, and 
pumpkins. In most pleasing contrast with the half- 
starved and arid wildernesses of northern Charterland, 
there is here any quantity of food, such as eggs, 
goats, sheep, fowls, and splendid honey, while the 
soil is magnificently rich and deep. Moreover, the 
climate of these districts, although as at Ujiji warm, 
has none of the overpowering stifling heat of the 
southern half of the lake ; in fact, it enjoys a 
climate natural to the elevation, which is here further 



tempered by the proximity of high mountains and 
lofty cold plateaux. Of all these more salubrious 
and richer northern districts, that immediately about 
Ujiji is unquestionably the worst, while Ujiji itself 
is an unhealthy place, and nothing can be done to 
improve it much. Is is situated among coast swamps 


Kergu.sson follows game and drinks. 

and river deltas, which the fall in the lake has 
rendered more undesirable than they were. A great 
deal of the wind at Ujiji comes from the south and 
east, so that one gets the full benefit of the steaming 
swamps at the mouth of the Malagarassi river, some 
thirty miles to the south ; and last, but not least, 
the whole place is saturated with the accumulated filth 
of centuries of Arab occupation. In this connection a 



grim relic of the past is to be seen beyond the old 
coast-line, where in Ujiji’s palmy days the slave dhows 
used to anchor close to the town. This anchorage 
has now become dry grass land ; but it is everywhere 
covered with human bones, little heaps of skulls and 
other odds and ends protruding in all directions above 
the sand. 

In accordance with the arrangements which I have 
already described, we made a flying visit from Ujiji 
to the north end of the lake, and it took us about 
twenty-four hours’ steaming to reach Usambura, the 
lake becoming narrower and narrower all the way. 
Close to the north end it is flanked by a towering 
range on the, which extends far beyond the 
northern shore, and runs parallel to the somewhat 
lower eastern ranges ; and thus the great valley of 
Tanganyika is seen to continue northward long after 
the lake itself has come to an end. As we neared 
the northern shore of the lake, the German camp 
became visible at its eastern corner, and on landing 
we found a sergeant with three fine Muscat donkeys 
ready to take us up to the camp. Here we found 
Captain Bethe, the official head of the whole German 
Tanganyika district. He was a most charming and 
interesting host, for he had been the first European 
to explore among some of the lofty Mfumbiro moun- 
tains between Kivu and the Albert Edward Nyanza, 
and he was consequently full of information about 
some of the very districts which we wished shortly to 
examine. He told us that the Congo rebels had 
been in the neighbourhood, and had sent to him 
asking him to give up the fort. He had some 
Sudanese soldiers with him, not a large number. 


and I therefore asked him what he had told them. He 
said, “ I replied, that if they intended to attack 
me they might ; that I was a soldier, and fighting 
was my trade ; and I did say to them, therefore, 
‘ Koom.’ ” They had not “koom,” however, and much to 
our surprise we also found Captain Haec, the Belgian 
Commandant at Usambura ; he had encountered the 
rebel soldiers west of the Rusisi river, and had totally 
defeated them, killing several hundreds and entirely 
dispersing the rest. He had then pushed over the 
mountains to Usambura and joined Captain Bethe, 
where we found him almost dancing with delight. He 
showed a most kindly interest in our expedition, and 
promised us all the assistance that the Congo troops 
and their outposts could afford us. He left the same 
afternoon on his way home to Europe, going across the 
north end of Tanganyika in a small dhow, in which I 
heard afterwards he had a very rough time. After 
Captain Haec’s departure we explored Usambura and its 
neighbourhood with Captain Bethe. From my experience 
of the more southern countries of Central Africa we 
seemed here to be in a new world ; this was the sort 
of country described by Livingstone and Stanley, by 
Burton and Speke, by Stuhlmann and Lugard. The 
village itself lay on the slopes of some huge and bare 
grassy mountains. There were extensive banana planta- 
tions, and much grain and vegetables were also 
grown. The soil was deep and rich and red, and 
there were also herds of the same big-horned cattle 
that flourish in Ujiji. But the most remarkable 
industry of the place was constituted by the wholesale 
capture of small fishes during the night. If it is calm, 
no sooner has the sun set than from the creeks. 


from the reeds, from the small river mouths, and from 
all manner of other places, there emerge, as if by 
magic, literally hundreds of canoes, each carrying a 
flaring torch ot reeds, tied together into a long bundle. 
They then form up into one long line, stretching for 
two or three miles along the lake, the flare of their 
torches looking for all the world like the lights of 
Brighton or some other coast town, seen from the sea 
by night. In this way innumerable swarms of small 
fish are attracted to the boats and are caught with hand 
nets, each boat obtaining from a few pounds to half a 
hundredweight or more. In the morning all these fishes 
are brought up to the Usambura market, which is 
simply a long open space, at one end of which there 
is a huge thatched roof supported on open wooden 
pillars, under which the hundreds of buyers and sellers 
crowd, yelling at the top of their voices, should it 
rain, during the market hours, which are from six to 
ten a. 111. 

In this pleasant way then were our doubts and fears 
respecting our journey northward dissipated into air, 
and the sanguinary talk W'hich we heard all the way 

up found to be, when actually on the spot, as I rather 
expected it would, merely a result of the surprising 
prevalence of those three African types, the lions, 
the locusts, and the liars, which inhabit at any rate 

the districts to the south. It only remained, there- 
fore, for us to land the stores and goods we had 
brought in the steamer, and which Captain Bethe 

had kindly allowed us to leave in the fortified camp, 
and return for the rest. 

After journeying once more down to the south of 

Tanganyika and back to Ujiji again with the rest of the 


expedition, it was decided that I should remain behind 
there, while the loads and the steamer went on to the 
north end of the lake, for we had found that Bin-Sef- 
Rachid and Omari together had only raised seventy-five 
men while we were away, and it would be necessary to 
have a minimum of at least a hundred and sixty. At 

Belts of euphorbia forest on the plains South of the Albert Edward Nyanza. 

this time Baron Munchhausen was away on a small 
punitive expedition to the east, but during my enforced 
stay at Ujiji I was most hospitably entertained by the 
officer in command of the fort. I had nothing to do but 
to wait, and during this delay I explored the country 
round about. To the south of Ujiji there is a river which 
enters the lake by a broad swampy mouth some miles to 


the north of the Malagarassi estuary. It swarms with 
duck and other waterfowl, and the Sunday after I had 
landed at Ujiji, the officer in charge went with me in a 
canoe to this river along the coast. We had not got far 
out among the low sand spits covered with reeds before 
the sea became unpleasantly rough, and we were finally 
forced to run the boat aground and walk the remainder of 
the distance round the shore. These long flat sandy 
coasts are peculiarly characteristic of Tanganyika, and 
possess an individuality of their own. The great white 
surf of the lake breaks landward over miles of yellow 
sunlit sand, while rising gently further in are the low 
bluffs and sand dunes covered with vivid green reeds and 
bushes, and straggling masses of blue and purple convol- 
vuli. Behind all this bright fringe to seaward there lie 
the dark mountainous borders of the lake, which rise 
dimmer and dimmer as they recede into blue heights that 
attain at last .some seven or eight thousand feet. The 
wind when it blows off the lake is deliciously cool and, 
while over all there hangs a .serene summer sky with its 
changing cloud shapes, that now gather round the mountain 
tops, now float in the most delicate masses of soft grey 
and white across the lake. The river we were looking for 
comes out as a rapid, shallow, coffee-coloured stream, 
leaping into and discolouring the Tanganyika surf between 
low sandy banks. Near its mouth there is a small village, 
where we got another canoe and paddled up. Not far 
inland the stream splits up into several channels of clear 
limpid water, which open out into a wilderness of bright 
lakes and pools, surrounded by dark foliaged trees and 
bushes, and covered with endless beds of pale purple 
water-lilies. Among these there are many flocks of duck, 
and here and there a native appears gingerly pushing 



about in a tiny shell of a canoe, after the fish, chiefly 
Siluroids. They catch these by means of a line and a 
hook baited with small Tanganyika fish. Each line is 
attached to one end of a long bamboo, which is driven into 
the mud, and carries above the water a large and con- 
spicuous knob of white wood. By this means the men, after 

PCuphorbia forests South of the Albert Edward Nyanza. 

they have set from twenty to thirty, can return to the 
cooler shade of the trees, where they sit discussing the 
affairs of the universe together, in low voices, and especi- 
ally the meaning of the intrusion of the white men into 
these undisturbed native haunts. They rest thus until a 
capture is proclaimed by the bobbing of one or more of 


the wooden heads, when they rush yelling into the water as 
if their very lives depended on the result. 

On the 17th of November Omari announced to me that 
ninety-one men had been collected, and these were accord- 
ingly paraded outside the Arab Bin-Sef s house. I went 
down to superintend the arrangements for the despatch 
of these men overland to Usambura, and during the per- 
formance I sat with Bin-Sef on a stone seat outside his 
door, which had been covered with a brilliant red cloth for 
the occasion. Here we discussed the endless question of 
pay. It had been arranged that each man should receive 
ten rupees a month as long as he was with me. But there 
now cropped up the question of food or food money, 
which is distributed or paid by the week. Finally this 
was settled to be two yards, or half a rupee a week, or its 
equivalent in foods, or anything else which might be re- 
garded as of similar value, there being in Central Africa 
no Truck Act ; and when this had been arranged, the 
ninety-one worthies were bundled neck and crop into a 
great dark room inside the house, several Arabs, more or 
less armed, standing guard over the door. They were 
then let out one by one to receive a month’s pay and a 
week’s food money, and to have their names carefully 
taken down by myself and Bin-Sef, with the names of 
their tribe and that of the head-man to whom they be- 
longed. This is done, so that if they run away, as some 
of them are sure to do a few days after they have got 
their advance pay, they can be found when they return to 
their villages later, after having had what has been well 
described as an “ unholy Belshassar ” for a week or so. I 
had arranged to buy the cloth for this advance of pay from 
Bin-Sef, and it had appeared after much talk, in as many 
languages, a few days before, that I yra.s simply to buy the 


cloth and hand it out to the men, but I found that no 
such simple method was going to be adopted. Bin-Sef 
produced a stick, which looked about six feet long and 
was tipped with brass. This he said was his measure, and 
if he 'measured the cloth out with it to the men, he would 
make the profit which he required after ostensibly selling 
it to me at a lower rate. The cloth was done up in 
bundles of thirty-two yards, which were said to be sold to 
me at twelve rupees a bundle, but after measuring it out 
with his stick Bin-Sef scored two rupees a bundle, at least 
that was how it worked out experimentally, for I tried, and 
I thought it might be as well not to enquire too closely as 
to who lost the said rupees, as the men seemed satisfied ; 
we therefore went to work with the stick. But after we 
had paid about four men a great lamentation arose in the 
dark room within ; the stick and the cloth were thrown 
down on the ground, and the Arabs rushed off in their 
clattering sandals, their shrill high-pitched Swahili adding 
to a din, the like of which I have seldom heard. It now 
appeared that some genius ruminating in the hot dark 
inside had come to the conclusion that it might rain on the 
way north, and that he and his fellow porters should be 
provided with four yards of cloth each, to make small 
tents. Bin-Sef thought it might be as well to submit, but 
I fancy his advice was tempered by the fact that he was 
selling me the cloth, and giving it out to the men with his 
stick. However, we finally arranged to give them this 
gratuity, as I was anxious to appear as well as possible to 
the men, at any rate before we set off. The men were all 
then paid off, and Bin-Sef introduced me to an individual 
called Taratibo, who could speak a few words of English, 
and who, Bin-Sef said was among the list of porters, but 
who would take the men up to Usambura while I waited 


at Ujiji to see what more men could be got. He also said 
that Taratibo was to receive as head-man fifteen rupees 
instead of ten. Next day the men were again paraded, 
this time in front of the fort, and after some words of 
warning from the officer in charge, they filed away to the 
north, with their women, their goats, their cloth, their 
pipes, and the long native mats in which they slept. 

Omari loading the native punts at Vichumbi, at the extreme South of the 
Albert Edward Nyanza. 



“To iinpathcd waters, undreamed shores ; most certain 
To miseries enough.*’ 

-Winter' $ 7'alc. 

After about twelve; days more at Ujiji I succeeded in 
raising some sixty odd additional porters, and as both the 
Germans and the Arabs now assured me that there was 
no immediate prospect of obtaining any more, I left with 
this force and marched directly overland to Usambura, 
which I reached after eleven days’ journeying through the 
wild and mountainous country which borders Tanganyika 
to the east. Having reached Usambura and joined the 
rest of the expedition, we were now, with the excep- 
tion of the fact that we were somewhat undermanned, 
both ready and able to continue our journey into the 
unknown northern districts : that is, into the country 
which, in one sense, was the goal of the whole expe- 
dition, and over the arrangements for the exploration of 
which the Tanganyika committee had taken so much 
trouble at home, and on account of which I had spent so 
many anxious hours on the way up, through the rumours 
which we had heard all the way of the difficulties which 
awaited us as soon as we left the more beaten tracks for 
the north. From Usambura, which we left on the 30th 
of November, 1899, the track to the north leads first along 
the lake shore through innumerable enclosures and villages 



surrounded by banana plantations, so extensive and so 
well kept near the lake shore, that they reminded one of 
portions of the coast of Sicily. As I plodded along over 
the soft sand and the beautiful convolvuli which straggled 
over it, I had much to think about ; much that was 
pleasant, much that was the reverse. We were leaving at 
last for the mysterious north with our hundred and odd 
stalwarts, with Omari-bin-Omari, Omari Kidogo and the 
poor Nyassa cook. There was the fine gentleman Aden, 
and a young savage that Fergusson had picked up to 
make into a .servant, but who was as yet crude native 
brass, so much a real naked savage indeed that it 
frightened one to look at him. There was the mild and 
gentle and confiding Taratibo, whom Bin-Sef-Rachid had 
given us for a consideration, and with this howling, laugh- 
ing, gibbering crowd we were off, leaving behind us the 
last links which permanently connect the outer world with 
the ancient barbarism that still lingers in the vast interior. 
We were moving off to Kivu, and on into a region that 
was unmapped and unknown, but of which .some tale had 
been told of wars and rumours of wars, of plague, pes- 
tilence, and famine, of battle, murder, and of sudden 
death. We were to the unmapped river with 
its five mouths, and at a place called Kajagga we turned 
abruptly to the north. From this point for the next two 
or three days we travelled over flat plains, which had 
obviously at one time formed the bottom of Tanganyika 
itself, for the plains are of sand and mud, and are covered 
with the dead shells of molluscs similar to those now living 
in the lake. After a few miles this sand gave place to 
calcareous mud, which was also obviously part of an old 
lake deposit. The plains which it formed were very 
characteristic of the place, being covered with short grass 


and studded in all directions with gigantic euphorbias. 
The plains themselves were bounded to the left and right 
by the blue ranges of lofty mountains which form the 
opposing walls of the great valley in which Tanganyika 
lies to the southward. As we went further on during our 
march from Usambura, the calcareous mud began to be 

Albert Kdward punts — another view. 

pierced in places by a much harder, older-looking material, 
which had weathered through it, and I noticed that the 
natives had used fragments of this stone to build up 
shelters for their fires, when cooking their food. In one 
of these chalky-looking stones I was suddenly struck with 
the appeara'nce of fossils, and on closer examination they 
turned out to be the remains of old Tanganyika shells. 


Not far from this place there was a steep dry canon worn 
out by the repeated storm torrents which had swept down 
it from the hills into the Rusisi ; and in the cuttings in 
its sides, I was able to examine the old fossiliferous deposit 
in situ. It was a considerable depth, sixty feet or more 
being exposed above the ground, and here and there it 
contained layers of fossil shells. We can be sure there- 
fore that Tanganyika did long ago extend as a deep lake 
at least twenty miles north of its present boundary. Be- 
yond this point matters are, however, not so simple ; the 
valley has become inundated with much loose gravel and 
sand brought down by the Rusisi and its tributaries, 
and after this point to the northward matters are quite 
different. Here the Rusisi river, instead of lying in the 
midst of an alluvial plain, cuts through a succession of 
rocky gorges in such a manner that at one place the 
river is completely arched over with rock. Shortly after 
leaving the camp at Butagata the flat alluvial plain gives 
place to high ridges of irruptive rocks, which cross the 
great valley from south-west to north-east, completely 
shutting off the lower flats from the rough ground which 
here forms the floor of the depression. There is no trace 
of old sedimentary deposits on this higher undulating 
ground, and the route to the north now rose rapidly ; in 
fact, after the next camp we reached a height of about six 
thousand feet, the dwarfed remains of the great valley of 
Tanganyika, which still ploughs its way on to the north, 
lying somewhat to the west. Next day we rose again, 
passing over delightful rounded grassy hills, over which 
we expected to come in sight of Kivu every hour. But 
it was not until the afternoon that, on a summit near a 
village, we came in sight of a long streak of silvery water 
lying far below us in a great trough. At the south-east 



corner of this sheet of water^ which passed out of sight 
behind some rising ground to the north, a river found 
its way out to the south between the hills, rushing in a 
white lacework of foam through a rocky gorge, and with 
a roar that made itself distinctly heard although we were 
at least four miles away. The beautiful expanse of water 

Crossing deep water in an Albert Rdward i)unt. 

was Lake Kivu, and the river was the Rusisi at its 
source. The scene from where we stood was beautiful 
and lonely in the extreme. All the country near at hand 
lay flooded with yellow sunshine, the great down-like hills 
were covered with bright green grass, and in the steep 
valleys between them there were patches of forest which 
were almost black. The lake itself was a pale silvery blue, 
and on the other side the mountains rose again in every 


shade of pink and purple, until they culminated to the 
north in a dark jagged mountain range. 

Towards evening we reached an old German camp on 
a steep grassy hill near the roaring outlet of the Jake. 
There was a Sudanese sergeant and a few men of Captain 
Bethe’s also here ; they told me that Captain Bethe had 
journeyed to Kivu during the time we were away to the 
south of Tanganyika, that he was camped immediately to 
the north, and I therefore went to see him on the following 
day. It was not a pleasant march ; the ground about this 
place is extraordinarily slippery when it rains, and the 
natives have, among their other detestable habits, that of 
fencing in the permanent paths with tall quick-set hedges 
of grass, euphorbia, and screw pines, so that the lane of 
mud, about one foot wide between them, is, and remains 
throughout the day, the wettest part of the country. We 
floundered for miles in mud, and then came out on to 
streams, which were ice-cold and difficult to cross. I 
tried to ride my donkey, but the poor brute stumbled 
worse than I did : however, about one o’clock I once more 
came in sight of Kivu, at a point where it broadened out 
among innumerable grassy islands, and some way below us 
near the water lay the German camp. Captain Bethe in- 
formed me that he was not at all sure about the state of 
the country further north, and with his characteristic kind- 
ness he gave me an escort of a Sudanese sergeant and 
some of his own Sudanese troops, who were to act under 
my orders and accompany us as far as the outposts of 
Uganda. I then returned to Fergusson, threading my 
way this time along the lake in two canoes. This return 
journey was the first opportunity I had had of examining 
Lake Kivu at close quarters. In this part it is beset 
literally with hundreds of islands, which are of all shapes 



and sizes, from mere reefs to rounded masses of grassy 
land two or three square miles in extent. They almost all 
have a more or less steeply-curved sugar-loaf form, their 
slopes falling precipitously into the thick green waters of 
the lake. The water’s edge is generally fringed with 
bushes and tall reeds, which grow thickly together, and 

Crossing the Albert l^dward Nyanza to the West Coast. 

the land rises so steeply into the grass slopes behind 

that it is exceedingly difficult to get on shore at all 

from a boat. In consequence of this peculiar character 
of the shores there are hardly any places where there 
are sand beaches or rocks, and it was only after I 
had been paddling about for an hour, and scanning 

the innumerable islands with my glasses, that I saw 

a low rocky shore on the left, on which I landed. It 


was a most extraordinary place, backed up by a steep 
green hill. The rocks which I had seen consisted of 
strange rounded masses like the surface of a pudding, and, 
wherever they were wet by the ripples of the lake, were 
covered with green cladophera and slime, and in places 
they rose up into weird stony trunks, like those on the old 
coral beaches one sees about Mozambique. These up- 
standing lumps were, moreover, pierced with holes, as if 
they had been prepared for blasting operations, and for the 
life of me I could not find out for a long time what they 
were, or how they had been formed. When I broke off a 
portion, moreover, I found to my intense surprise that the 
stone was full of fossil shells ; there was an unmistakable 
planorbis and some conical forms, probably melanias. But 
what animal had bored the long straight holes about an 
inch in diameter which ran parallely through the mass ? 
I could not make this out, but after a time I found one 
mass with an old partially fossilized reed stem filling up 
one of the holes, and then the mystery was suddenly 
solved. The holes were the casts, in a lake deposit of 
some kind, of reeds that had once grown there. That 
this was so soon became certain, for I found several 
clumps of old dead reed stems already becoming covered 
up with a curious incrustation from the waters of the lake 
which forms about them, and other similar structures. In 
other places this substance, which turns out to have a high 
percentage of carbonate of magnesium, binds the loose 
pebbles of the shore into masses of conglomerate, which 
are as hard as if they had been made of Roman cement. 

Rain descended in torrents as we passed among the 
islands ; we lost our way among the channels two or three 
times, and it was so bitterly cold that I was very glad 
when we reached the steep hill by the Rusisi river about 


two o clock, where I had left the camp. The same even- 
3- great misfortune befel us. It was just after dinner, 
and I was smoking with Fergusson, when Omari came 
up hurriedly and said that eleven men had run away 
while we were at dinner. We went back with him into 
the men s camp, and there, sure enough, were the empty 

111 Mid Ocean. 

tents denuded of their mats and smaller fittings, and the 
men were gone. I immediately sent off to the local chief, 
who, was a weird old bird with a long pipe, telling him to 
tell his people to catch or kill any men of mine that he 
found in that district, but it was all in vain ; as a matter 
of fact, the business was far worse than we had at first 
anticipated, for when the men were called over the 

i 62 


missing eleven swelled out to nineteen instead. Enquiry 
showed the cause of the thing to have been a typically 
native one. The men who had bolted slept near a hut in 
the village where there was a woman who lived with her 
husband, but who fancied another man better. This man 
had gone some months before on another expedition. 
Other natives coming back to this village told how this 
man was dead, whereupon, her husband being out fishing, 
the lady lifted up her voice and howled, and some of my 
porters enquiring what was the matter, learned that a 
man was said to have died on an expedition going north 
with a white man like us. Whereupon these fools rea- 
soned among themselves that as he had died, so would 
they also all die, and they had fled in a body, to be almost 
certainly killed by the surrounding tribes, and even if they 
did escape, to be certainly seized by the Germans and put 
in chains for six months, whenever they got back to their 
own villages about Ujiji. The position as regards men 
was getting serious. I had lost six between Ujiji and 
Usambura, eight between Usambura and Kivu, and here 
again nineteen, making a total of thirty-three desertions. 
We had been short of men before the last lot disappeared, 
and now we were so much worse off. It was therefore 
with some anxiety as to the future that I left this, our 
first camp on Kivu, going round to Ishangi by boat, the 
rest of the expedition marching with as many loads as I 
could not take. 



“ There’s a king on every dung-heap, 

There’s princes not a few, 

There’s a whole raft-load of potentates, 

On the road to Timbiictoo.” 

At Ishangi I made the best arrangements I could about 
engaging further men from the local chiefs ; we also 
hired three canoes from a local potentate, and set out 
for the north of Kivu, where the loads and men were 
to be left, at a place called Ugoyi, and I and Fergusson 
with a small party were to continue to circumnavigate 
the lake, returning to Ishangi, and then back again 
up to Ugoyi, where we could resume our journey to 
the north. When we started on this stage it was 
arranged that we should go by boat with as many 
loads as we could carry, while the rest, with the 
head-men, the cattle, and the guard, should march, 
both parties arranging where to meet each day and 
camp ; but through unforeseen circumstances this plan, as 
many others, had to be abandoned. 

When we left Ishangi we had three canoes with 
us, two big ones and a small one ; they were dug- 
outs with long snouts. Fergusson and I got into the 
biggest, which was already well loaded, and set out. 
She rolled in an ominous manner when anyone moved, 
and, as I had had some experience of these craft on my 

i 64 to the mountains OF THE MOON 

former expedition, I was unhappy from the start. The 
natives themselves never load their canoes to any 
extent ; they are round-bottomed, have no ballast, 
and if heavily laden turn bodily over from the slightest 
cause. Shortly after we started a wild downpour of 
rain came on, and a heavy blow followed from the 
north-east. We took shelter in some reeds and rocks. 
After it was over we set out again and passed round 
a headland between the island of Quichwi and the 
general coast into the main body of the lake ; here 
we met also the north-easterly swell. The canoe did 
not rise at all well, and the waves slipping along the 
sides began to slip in also. We tried to get back as 
we were, but it was obvious that she was going to 
fill up before we could turn the clumsy craft, so we 
tried to run her on to the head itself. As we 
neared the steep rocky shore two or three waves 
almost capsized the boat, and if four or five men had 
not jumped out, and by swimming managed to get her 
end on to the surf, we should have lost almost 
everything in the way of guns, tents, and camp gear 
that we had. Finally, however, we managed to get 
near enough to the rocks to jump, and thus lightened 
she was turned, and got back round the point. When 
we ourselves had scrambled across the rocks, we found 
that the other boats had prudently not ventured out ; 
their occupants were quietly smoking their long pipes 
and watching to see how we had fared. 

As the sea showed no signs of going down I 
resorted to a plan I had often adopted on Tanganyika, 
namely, that of lashing two canoes together, so as to 
form a sort of catamaran. This operation, although it 
makes them slower, and although they may still fill and 

lyaiiding on the West Coast of the I,ake. 

mountains of Quichwi to the left, and the more distant 
headlands of the east coast far away to the right. 

As we struck out eastward, the cape we were 
rounding rose into a high frowning headland of rocks 
and grass, and finally we passed a great arm of the 
lake opening up to the south again, several miles in 
length. that the rest of the expedition 

would be at a distant point they indicated on the 



opposite coast, and they wanted to cut across to it. 
As it was growing towards evening we did, but if 
there is anything I detest, both in principle and in 
practice, it is crossing a wide African water in dug- 
outs. In the first place there is always a very fair 
chance that you will be drowned, like the ill-fated 
members of the Lemaire expedition on Tanganyika, 
and a good many more ; or if not actually finished, 
you may have to sit for two days, as Captain Long 
did, astride your own capsized canoe, without a hat, 
and all your effects gone to glory. No man on earth, 
either native or European, can tell whether it will blow 
within the next hour or not ; the lake may lie like oil 
from sunrise to sunset, or it may look just the same, 
till without the slightest warning it becomes flecked with 
catspaws, which spread and spread until the wind blows 
a strong, steady breeze and the ripples have risen 
into great slapping waves, which spout in white surf 
along the coasts, and among which any canoe a native 
ever built will founder in five minutes. I don’t know 
how Fergusson felt, but I went across that six or 
seven miles of open water in terror of my life. Our 
guides lost their way, as usual, when we neared the 
Ccistern shore of the lake just after dark, and it was not 
until after beating about in a dusky wilderness of creeks 
and bays for two or three hours that we saw the camp 
fires at last on a piece of rising ground. 

The east coast of Kivu is extremely beautiful, and 
I have a vivid recollection of the brilliant moonlight 
which settled over it as we smoked our pipes in this 
particular camp till bedtime. The nearer islands were 
wrapped in the deepest purple gloom, and stood out 
in the most intense contrast from the pale silvery 


blue of the lake which wound between them. To 
add to all this, Quichwi and the more distant land 
masses had taken on an exquisite shadowy moonlight 
pink, which I have only seen in the tropics, and not 
often there, while above them the vast dark sky with 
its flaming stars had the same keen clearness, the same 

The pebble beaches of the West Coast of the Albert Kdwanl Nyanza and old 

water marks. 

glittering intensity, one .sometimes .secs during a long 
hard frost at home. 

As we moved away next morning, an old native clad 
in a piece of string and a very scanty apron of bark 
cloth, which he wore behind, emerged from a dilapidated 
village on. the road. He volunteered to be our guide 
towards the boats, and all the way kept lifting up his 


scanty garment and slapping himself behind, explaining 
in a strange dialect, which very few of my men understood, 
that he was very naked indeed and wanted cloth. I told 
him we would give him some when we reached the boats, 
but they were already loaded up, and I therefore told the 
old man to get in and come with us, and that when we 
reached the next camping ground I would give him some 
gaudy cloth or other, so that he might clothe himself 
withal. I thought no more about him till we reached 
camp in the afternoon, joining the rest of the expedition 
on an elevated cape. Here, however, the old man turned 
up again, and slapped himself with vigour to show that 
he was still unclothed. I was sitting on a box, and there 
was a great confusion of men going and coming during 
the formation of our camp. I had given orders that none 
of the porters were to go out of camp without a head-man 
or a soldier with them ; and the sergeant had just told me 
that several had gone, nevertheless, to buy food, etc., in 
the native villages, and I therefore did not attend to the 
old man at the time. We were determined to put a stop 
to this habit the men had of going away in groups by 
themselves, ostensibly to buy food ; for once out of range 
of the Sudanese rifles, they bullied the natives and created 
general ill-feeling, and there was no telling whether for 
some reason or other some of them might not try to bolt, 
and if this happened again the whole expedition might be 
brought to utter wreck shortly. 

We '\Vere now in a country full of Sultans, and a strange 
tall people who were by no means black. In fact, the 
Sultans themselves, who abounded like the grass and the 
flowers, were almost as light coloured as Indians, tall 
and thin, with thick bushy hair and delicate aquiline 
features. These people were reputed thieves and cut- 


throats, and I had been explicitly warned by everyone who 
knew them not to let my men wander about, and to deal 
in an arbitrary manner with any of the Sultans whose 
men should make trouble. I therefore sent Omari and 
Omari Kidogo to follow up and bring in all the men who 
were out of camp. I also sent to the local Sultan, who 
lived in a valley not far off, and asked him and his brother 
to catch any of the men belonging to us who might be 
found wandering at large. In about an hour all the men 
who were away without leave were brought back again ; 
they were severely talked to, and 1 warned them that the 
head-men and the soldiers of the guard had my explicit 
orders to shoot anyone who might venture out of the camp 
at any time without being accompanied by a representative 
head-man, on any pretext whatever ; and from that time 
onward a better tone prevailed throughout the camp. 

It was now about 3.30 in the afternoon, and we were 
getting very hungry, but on going to enquire why food 
had not been cooked, I became aware of a wild and con- 
fused hubbub arising from the direction of the Nyassa 
cook. Aden was bawling at the cook, and the cook, who 
appeared to have got his shirt very much out indeed, was 
bawling back at Aden ; Omari and Taratibu were also 
joining lustily in the din, and Fergusson’s boy Risasi had 
protruded his lips into the gigantic pout that he always 
assumed when anything went wrong. It appeared that 
the cook could not find one of the loads that contained 
our canteen, z.e., all our spoons, forks, and knives, all our 
plates, pots, and dishes, everything, in fact, with which 
we cooked and ate, teacups, tumblers, etc. The camp 
therefore was again turned upside down, but the canteen 
could not found. It was a most serious loss, as it 
reduced us to eating out of half a plate and a pan lid 



and two brass cups belonging to the Sudanese. I had 
never realized before how really helpless a European is 
without knives and forks. I had not the native gift of 
tearing a fowl to pieces with my teeth, or of using a hunt- 
ing knife with one hand to lop off pieces of goat, the other 
end of which was held in one’s mouth. After feeding in 
this way we held a consultation, and the general consensus 
of opinion was, that one of the natives who had brought 
us presents of bananas and grain had bolted with the load 
during the confusion of pitching camp, for, as I have 
said, these people are notorious thieves. The Sudanese 
sergeant and Omari both thought this, and advised us that 
we should send for the Sultan ; this was done, and as 
soon as he came, which he did in about half an hour, he 
was quietly surrounded by the Sudanese, who informed 
him politely that he would be obliged to sit on where he 
was till his people brought back our missing load. There 
was a fearful hubbub, and the news that we had captured 
their precious Sultan was shouted all round from hill to 
hill. As it grew dark there was evidently a great gather- 
ing of the clans in the neighbouring valleys, but they 
were afraid to come near, or to make any attempt upon 
the camp. The Sultan and his brother sat on the ground 
by the fire, discussing matters with the guard. In the 
intervals of talking they both smoked long pipes solidly, 
and the Sultan said he could eat no food except that which 
his wife made, and as we had come making “ bad words 
and trouble in the country ” this prudent lady had betaken 
herself to the hills, to be out of harm’s way ; and so he sat 
on without supper throughout the clear moonlight night, 
alternately smoking in silence, and then expostulating with 
the guard. 1 woke next morning just as it was coming 
daylight, and before I had got out of bed Omari put his 



head into my tent and said the canteen had not turned 
up, but he also said that it had occurred to him that the 
old native who was so desperately naked and who wanted 
cloth had gone away without getting any, which he would 
not have done unless he had secured something in its 
place. I therefore sent one of the Sudanese back to the 

The I^kc shore. 

village from which he had come in a canoe, and late in 
the afternoon the soldier and the canoe re-appeared round 
a promontory to the south. As the boat drew near the 
soldier fired his rifle, and we gathered from this that the 
missing canteen had been found. Such was indeed the 
case. It appeared that he had gone quickly to the old 
man’s hut, and had there surprised him in the very act of 



unpacking his prize. He had caught him, tied him up, 
and got the local chief to bundle him off to Captain Bethe, 
to do unto him what he thought fit. 

I had now, therefore, to make amends to the unfortunate 
Sultan, who had sat all this time on the ground, with no 
consolation but his long black pipe. I vyent to him, 
therefore, and I had him informed that I had made a mis- 
take, that it was not one of his people who had stolen our 
canteen, although we knew that his people were notorious 
thieves, to which latter remark he assented. I told him 
that we had recovered it, and that I should now give him 
a large present of cloth and beads, with which he seemed 
immensely pleased. There was a sort of general thanks- 
giving, a huge uproar of general satisfaction, concluding 
with the arrival of strings of goats, fowls, and bananas, 
for sale in camp. 

We now decided not to attempt to keep the boats and 
the rest of the expedition together, but that Fergusson 
and I should go right up to the north end of Kivu in the 
boats, while the rest followed at their leisure overland. 

From this point onward we found the coast of Kivu, as 
will be seen in the map, exceedingly indentated, innumer- 
able Qord-like bays opening up amongst steep green hills, 
while the coast was fringed with numberless islands, often 
covered with patches of virgin forest. 

All the . way I was continually looking to the north, for 
I expected that at any time we might come in sight of 
the great Mfumbiro mountains, which rise immediately to 
the north of the lake ; but for some reason or other con- 
nected with the atmospheric conditions, it was not till we 
reached a point only one day's journey from the north 
shore of Kivu that we saw anything of them. Here we 
were looking for a place on which to pitch our tents, 




along a point that ran out from the eastern shore. There 
was some flat ground on the top of it, and on passing 
through some trees to obtain a view up the lake, there 
appeared to the north three huge mountain peaks, each 
rising with that delicate upward curve which one always 
flnds characteristic of volcanic cones throughout the world. 

Punters resting- and drinking under the great slopes West of the I^ke. 

The one to the east was evidently the highest. Its 
summit was wrapped in a thin veil of white mist, while 
that to the west was abruptly truncated, and ‘from its crest 
there drifted a long trailing cloud of smoke and steam ; 
the intermediate cone had a wild, pointed and asymmetrical 
crest, which reminded one of the almost perpendicular 


central peak of Kenia. These three strange solitary peaks 
were evidently still very far away, perhaps seventy miles 
from where we stood. The evening, however, was at the 
time singularly cool and clear, and through their huge 
height they soared up in the keenest profile above the 
lower haze and mist. As the sun set they gradually faded 
away and disappeared, and next morning, although the 
sky seemed clearer than ever, they were quite invisible. 

Late next day, after rounding a huge mass of mountains 
which stood out from the east, we reached the northern 
shores of the lake. Unlike that of most other portions of 
Kivu, the coast here is composed of sand, while but a few 
miles to the it is formed almost entirely of the rough, 
more or less recent lava, which has descended directly from 
the great cone of Kirungu Cha Gungo into the lake. The 
slope of this huge volcano, which we could now see rising 
dimly beyond the nearer forest and topped by a vast pine- 
tree-likc cloud of smoke and steam, begins really on the 
shores of the lake itself, and all the gradually rising forest- 
clad lava fields arc studded with secondary cones. 

After two more days we again started, this time west, 
along the north shore of the lake, passing endless pro- 
montories, formed by old lava streams, which have now 
become sufficiently disintegrated on the surface to be 
covered with brilliant green grass and picturesque clumps 
of euphorbia trees. 

Along the north shore, about half-way between the east 
and west coasts of the lake, there is a very large secondary 
cone, the steep sides of which slope abruptly at a very 
high pitch info the water, and form the shore for two or 
three miles. Round the b^lse of this cone the water is 
deep, and the rock rises so steep and smooth that it would 
be quite impossible for a swimmer to climb out on to the 



precipitous hill-side, and it was just off this particular 
place, of course, that we had another nasty experience 
with the canoes. There was a fresh breeze blowing, and 
as we passed the steep rock face the reflection of the 
waves from it caused them to hop up into a nasty choppy 
sea, which splashed into the heavily-laden dug-outs, from 
end to end, and we all but sank ; but we were able at last 
to get them into the base of a small gulley on the face of 
the cone. 

Before reaching the actual west coast of the lake there 
is seen to be an opening into a curious extension of the 
water to the north, which is correctly represented in Count 
Gotzen’s map, and into which one enters by an imposing 
narrow gateway, formed by a perpendicular volcanic cliff 
on the one side, and the steep green slopes of the western 
coast on the other. These slopes are, of course, the 
western side of the great valley, and arc formed of the 
old irruptive rocks, characteristic of them throughout its 
length. I obtained photographs of this curious channel, 
and w(! finally camped, after a long search for a patch of 
ground on the west coast anywhere, which was not abso- 
lutely too steep on which to pitch a tent. 



“ Butchers and villains ! Bloody cannibals ! ” 

— King Henry VT. 

“ Hark, ’tis a rushing wind that sweeps earth and ocean.” 

— Sheltry. 

The western shore of Lake Kivu, which we had now 
reached at the north end, is in all respects a continua- 
tion of the same series of mountain scarps, composed 
of various irruptive granitoid rocks which we have seen 
extending without interruption in a line stretching all the 
way to Tanganyika, and then on to the extreme south 
of Nyassa and even beyond that lake. Our journey 
south, under these frowning, partially grassy, partially 
forest-clad heights of Kivu, would have been without 
incident, had not one of the canoes been smashed by a 
sudden storm which arose from the east during the 
night. Through this loss we were obliged to interview 
the native Sultans, and obtained another boat from them 
for a price. This transaction led, however, in the end to 
much trouble, as will be seen. We reached the village 
of the principal Sultan, half-way down on the west coast 
of the lake, and after leaving this place we crossed to 
the island of Qwichwi, a four and a half hours* open 
crossing. Qwichwi is really one of the main features of 
Kivu ; it is an immense niountainous island mass, as big 
as the Isle of Wight, covered with forest and plantations, 


and thickly inhabited. On reaching the island we noticed 
that we had been followed by a large canoe, which came 
up with us on the coast of the island. The native 
paddlers passed our men the time of day, gave a huge 
guffaw, asked us where we were going, and sold us a 
couple of fowls. We reached Ishangi two days later. 

The steep West Coast of the Albert Edward Nyanwi. Tlie Western side of the Great 
Central Valley of the Lakes. 

having thus completely circumnavigated the lake, and we 
were now ready to start finally for the north. 

On the following morning, however, after the men had 
been called over, and the loads had been carried down 
to the boats, we found that both the big canoes, the one 
which we had obtained from the chief on the west coast 
of the lake and the one Captain Bethe had lent me, 
were missing. It was evident what had happened ; the 


men in the large canoe which had followed us had 
waited till dark and a convenient time, and had then 
come in, under the German camp — right under the 
German sentries, in fact — and stolen not only the canoe 
which we had got from the west coast, but, native-like. 
Captain Bethe’s also. After investigating this wretched 
business Captain Bethe, Fergusson, and I returned sorrow- 
fully to breakfast. We drank our last bottle of lager 
beer, and Captain Bethe finally lent me his two re- 
maining canoes, which were still lying near Ishangi. 
He also detached four more of his Sudanese troopers, 
with a sergeant. These men were to accompany me up 
the west coast again, and either recover the stolen canoes 
or make reprisals. We left the same afternoon, and 
reached the villages on the west coast again, where we 
could neither hear nor see any trace of the stolen 

boats. The natives themselves thought that they might 
be at a village which we had stayed at on the way 

down, near the island shown on the map, and which 

island is about a hundred yards from the coast. It 

was important that if the canoes were there we should 
come into this village before daybreak. We travelled all 
night, nodding in our long chairs, which could be easily 
placed in the bottom of the big dug-out boats, the regular 
splash of the paddles and the dim forms of the huge 
headlands on the west being the only features which 
broke the monotony of the vast watery waste over which 
we moved. We paddled on in this way all night and 
reached the southern coast of the island just as the dawn 
broke among the stars away to the east, and showed up 
the forest on the nearer coast, with its white encrusted 
pebbles and dark trees. There is something wonderfully 
simple about an equatorial dawn. It is night, profound 


night, with her thousand stars. There are the strange 
night smells abroad, the scent of dewy trees and 
nocturnal flowers. The dark holds all, except the jackals, 
the great cats, and unholy men, like ourselves, who are 
creeping about unseen. And then all in a moment it 
is light ; the old godless African world has come 
back again, though it stands at first somewhat indistinct 

View on the West Coast of the Albert Kclwarcl NyanTui. 

and sickly-looking, like something that has just been 
born. There were the white rocks and the gleaming 
water round the island, on which could be made out the 
indistinct forms of huts, with faint wreaths of smoke hang- 
ing about the bananas growing round them. We had, 
as we had intended to do, effected a complete surprise, 
but the canoes were not there. After breakfast, and 
having taken some re-determinations of longitude, we 



set out again, determining to go straight to the 
village where we had hired the canoe on our way from 
the north. About two o’clock, however, while we were 
crossing a wide bay, a terrific gale sprang up with 
the utmost suddenness. The wind tore the sea furiously 
past us landward, and it was very fortunate that 

near the middle of this bay there was a small rocky 
island, on the lee side of which we took shelter. 

The island was about a quarter of an acre in extent, 
rocky, and covered with trees and grass. We landed 
our tents, loads, guns, sketching books, canvas chairs, 

and stores of all kinds ; but while we were attempting 

to clear a place for the tents the wind gradually 

increased into a perfect hurricane, and at the same 

time the reflected waves from the steep coast facing 

us began to grow, threatening every minute to smash 
the canoes that were moored behind the rocks. To 

prevent this I put a man in each of them and let 
them drift out on long lines. These men sat then 
rolling about in the great seas, and were sea-sick ; 
but we did not care much about that, so long as the 
canoes were not damaged. Later on, however, the 
wind chopped suddenly round and began to blow off 
the coast. One canoe, half full of loads and provisions, 
was immediately blown on the rocks. She fortunately 
filled at once and sank in about four feet of water, 
without being stove in. The others were then in the 
greatest danger for a time, but by dint of much 
language we managed, with the soldiers and the 
porters, to lift the other boats bodily out of the water 
on to the rocks, beyond the reach of the waves. We 
were then able to breathe freely once more. The sea 
on the outside of the island was really terrific, the spray 


from the great waves flying over the rocks, fifty feet 
or more into the air. 

In the morning, after a long night's rest, we 
awoke to find the lake again oily, with only the slightest 
trace of a long swell under its glassy surface that told 
of the fury of the day before. 

We had hardly started, when we saw two large canoes 

Hot and still. 

on the horizon, coming south. They were very like the 
boats we had lost, and as they halted the moment they 
saw us we gave chase, one of our boats standing in to- 
wards the coast, the other standing out, so as to head 
them off and keep them from rounding a cape to the 
north. They instantly realized the intention of this 
manoeuvre and tried to get away, running in towards the 
shore, ancj then in amongst some small headlands and bays. 
We paddled after them as quickly as we could, but not 

i 82 


being laden they were naturally quicker than we were, 
and got out of sight before we came up. One canoe, how- 
ever, reappeared as we rounded some rocks, and this we 
followed up persistently, until she was finally run aground 
and abandoned by her crew, near a small village. The 
other fugitive had evidently been pulled up among some 
trees or reeds somewhere, and could not be found. The 
sergeant and some of the soldiers then went in and 
brought off the stranded boat, and we pushed on as rapidly 
as ijossible to the village where we had hired the canoes, 
now not far off, our object being to secure the chief of 
the village and hold him until he should produce the other 
canoe. We came suddenly into his village and surprised 
both him and his brother there. There was the usual 
hubbub around in the steep grassy hills, but after a time 
the .Sultan told his guards to inform us that if we would 
let him go he would produce the canoe in ten minutes. 
We were not such fools, and as he obviou.sly knew all 
about the affair, we told him that unless he did produce it it 
might be worse for him. After prolonged shouting from 
the hill-tops, we learned that the missing canoe was said 
to be concealed somewhere among bananas in an adjoining 
bay, and it was arranged that a number of men were to go 
and fetch it, when the chief would be set at liberty. These 
men arranged with the chief to return with the boat at 

The little bay in which the village lay concealed was not 
a nice place to stay in ; the shore was low and green and 
damp, flanked by steep hills, on which the villagers’ 
bananas flourished. Both the huts and the ground about 
them, the only ground to camp on, were dank and un- 
savoury, it was raining dismally, and it looked as though it 
meant to go on raining. There was a dead woman lying 


unburied in one of the huts, and there were several other 
people ill in those round about. Later on the Sudanese 
sergeant obtained two canoes belonging to the captive 
chief, which were detained as hostages. But as time went 
on matters did not improve, and long after the sun had set 
behind the fringe of bananas crowning the hills to the 
west, our canoe had not been brought back, so we were 
forced to pitch the tents preparatory to spending the 
night where we were. The sergeant in charge of the 
Sudanese had explicit orders from Captain Bethe to 
secure the missing canoes if possible, and to demand that 
the men responsible for the theft should be given up and 
brought over to the German camp at Ishangi. If these 
demands were not immediately complied with, the sergeant 
had orders to destroy all the canoes in the village belong- 
ing to the recalcitrant chief, to make him prisoner, and to 
burn out his house in the village. At night the attitude of 
the people became threatening, and the soldiers fired into 
the dark, to frighten the natives from making any attempt 
on the camp itself. 

As soon as it was light, we again inquired of the Sultan 
what he intended to do. He now said, whether truly or 
not I do not know, that he could not make his people 
bring the canoe, and that we had better let him go, so that 
he could look after the people himself. We therefore de- 
termined to have done with the whole thing as quickly as 
possible, as this sort of delay is useless and also endless. 
The soldiers therefore burnt out his house. We then re- 
packed the canoes, and after smashing two or three 
others which were on the beach, we left with the chief for 

On arriving at Ugoyi, we found Omari and the rest of 
the caravan all safe, with the exception of one porter who 

i 84 to the mountains OF THE MOON. 

had died, and a donkey and her foal, both of which had 
died also ; but the Ujiji cows and the calves had stood all 
the vicissitudes of the journey overland without winking. 

i,,a ’* “ ■* • 


' ... r y -r 

' •■ I-'"' Vi 

■■ ' . -■ 

Pelicans on a sand-spit on the North Coast of the Albert Kdward Nyanza. 



“ In silence then they took their way 
llencath the forest’s solitude. 

It was a vast and antiejue wood 
Through which they took their way, 

And the grey shades of evening 
O’er that green wilderness di<l fling 
Still deeper solitude.” 


We had now been all round Lake Kivu and back 
again ; we had got a number of salient points on its 
shores fixed by astronomical observations for the first 
time, as well as a large number of bearings between 
them. We had therefore acquired the material from which 
it would be possible to construct a tolerably good map 
of this remote and hitherto little-known African lake. 

We had also become acquainted with the nature of 
that portion of the great central trough which stretches 
north from Tanganyika ; we had found that Tanganyika 
had at some former time extended further north than 
it does now, but had never reached anywhere 
near Kivu ; we had collected samples of the fauna 
in Lake Kivu, and had thereby shown that it had no 
community of nature with that of Tanganyika, and 
consequently we had shown it to be extremely prob- 
able that ^he jelly fishes and other marine organisms 
peculiar to the latter lake had not come into it from 




Lake Kivu along the great trough from the north. We 
had seen also that this great trough did not end 
north of Kivu, but that its walls could be seen going 
on east and west of the great Mfumbiro mountains, 
and that these mountains had sprung up like a dam in 
the floor of it. 

The source of the Semliki River. 

It how remained for us to explore these mountains 
to a certain extent, so that we might form some 
conception of the nature of the great dam which 
they form to the north of the lake. Whatever may 
be the origin of the name Mfumbiro, which according 
to Captain Bethe is applied by the natives to a 


district and not to the volcanoes at all, the name like 
that of Ruwenzori has been used by Stanley, Stuhl- 
mann, and others, when speaking of the mountains of 
this range, when seen from various points by various 
people. These mountains are what everyone acquainted 

View of the North of the Albert Kd\^^rd Nyanza from Katwi (Fort George). 

with African literature understands by the Mfumbiro 
Mountains, and it was these mountains, and these 
mountains only, which figured in the Anglo-German 
agreement. Mr. Grogan is therefore quite wrong when 
he goes out of his way to point out that the Mfumbiro 
Mountains , only exist in the minds of English states- 
men. As a matter of fact, he fell a somewhat easy 


victim to a rather humorous German trick. The 
range was first closely examined by Count Gdtzen, 
who ascended to one portion of the rim of the great 
active cone. This capable German explorer used, as 
every competent geographer does, the native names 
which were applied by one or more of the tribes to 
the peaks in question, and these names are now all 
over the world in the literature of the subject, and 
have been ever since 1895, when he published an 
account of his journey, and the best map of this 
district which has ever been produced. It is therefore 
somewhat superfluous and misleading for Mr. Grogan 
to apply the names of his sisters and his cousins and 
his aunts to these peaks, as if he had discovered 

them in 1899. In fact, Mr. Grogan’s account of this 
part of the country does not appear to throw any new 
light upon the admirable description given by Gdtzen 
five years before. The data in his map published in the 
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, where it 
differs from that of Count Gdtzen, differs also equally 
from the observations made by Fergusson during 

the present expedition ; for these observations entirely 
confirm and merely extend the observations made by 
Gdtzen himself. 

From the north end of Kivu there are visible three 
principal volcanic cones ; that to the west is the 
active Kirungu Cha Gungo, the two to the east are 
Sabiin and Karisimbi respectively. Of these three, 
the huge symmetrical peak of Karisimbi is undoubtedly 
the highest, and cannot be much less than 14,000 feet 
above the sea. The bigger of the two active cones, 

which was ascended by Gdtzen in 1894, was found 

by him to be 11,300 feet; and the second active cone. 



described by Gdtzen as lying to the north of Kirungu 
Cha Gungo, is perhaps a thousand feet lower. As this 
cone was both described as active by Gdtzen, and 
entered on his map as such, it is hardly necessary to 
discuss Mr. Grogan’s theory, based on native evidence, 
that it has sprung up .since Gdtzen’s visit. 

Native Callers sitting in the sunlight at the gates of Fort ( xeorge. 

These mountains, perhaps the most interesting range 
in the whole African continent, are thus seen to be 
of huge dimensions, and they are unique in this, 
that they are the very largest active volcanoes so far 
from the sea in the whole world, and also that they 
are among the very largest and highest among the 


active cones in the whole of the Old World. They 
are much bigger than Etna, and it is merely owing 
to the fact that they are still to a large extent 
unexplored, and that they lie in one of the most remote 
and inaccessible parts of the African Continent, that 
they have not long since taken rank among the 
wonders of the world. I therefore waited with some 
impatience on the northern shores of Lake Kivu for 
the preparations to be made for a start towards these 
unique volcanic peaks, which rose huge and cloud-spanned 
in the north. 

It was, however, impossible to start for a couple of 
days. There were many things to do in the camp ; 
porters to be doctored for various maladies, stores to be 
repacked, fishes that were in spirit and other pre.serva- 
tive materials to be overhauled and made ready for a 
journey of unknown duration, round by the Mountains 
of the Moon and the Albert Nyanza to Mombassa, now 
so many hundreds of miles away from us on the east 
coast. I was, however, most anxious to get away, and 
after each of these two days was well nigh done, I 
walked and smoked on the shores of the lake, looking 
with feverish excitement at the vast blue shadowy 
mountains which rose up apparently so near to us 
over the forest, but which I knew in reality would 
not be reached for several days. 

Late in the second night of our stay in Ugoyi a heavy 
storm of rain, wind, and lightning swept over the camp 
from the west, and in the morning the sergeartt same to 
tell me that the recalcitrant Sultan and his retainers 
had seized the opportunity afforded by this nocturnal 
tumult to make good their escape. The old chief 
‘himself must have been a much more active man than 


he looked, for he had cleared a palisade at least 
twenty feet high with the raw ends of the poles of 
which it was made, unbound and offering no foothold 
for some six feet from the top. All this, moreover, had 
been effected within ten feet of the sentry, who 

Parading the men and loads at Fort George. 

had, so it was said, simply moved under the .shelter of 
the eave of a neighbouring hut during the storm. 

Next morning we said adieu to the Sudanese sergeant 
who had lost his prisoner, and who was returning to 
Captain Bethe, and set out, in a deliciously cool sunrise, 
for fresh fields and pastures new. We were entering what 
at first sight appeared to be a very delightful country 
indeed, for as we struck away from the lake, we passed* 



through beautiful diversified scenery among great hills, 
the slopes of which were covered with brambles and 
bushes, among which there were hundreds of brilliant 
flowers and millions of bees. The whole region, in fact, 
seemed to be a sort of beatified edition of some untamed 
tract of country at home, only there was a bluer* sky 
overhead and a warmer sun, and although it was not hot, 
there was not the faintest chill in the warm luxurious 
air. I walked in a coat and a cap and revelled in the 
surroundings, until we finally came in the afternoon to a 
village surrounded by acacias and acres of bananas, in 
which we camped. From this place the Sultan lent us 
guides, the chief of which was a handsome intelligent man, 
with a wonderfully active and distinguished manner. He 
wore the rough cloth we had given him over his shoulders 
in a most artistic fashion, and was in all ways, both now 
and afterwards, a shrewd and well-meaning individual. 
The Sultan’s village, however, and especially the sub- 
sidiary villages round about it, were not so pleasing as 
the rest of the country had appeared. In a sort of hamlet 
on the crest of a green hill, buried in huge foliaged fig 
trees, there were several people in the last stages of starva- 
tion. They were crouched on the ground, mere listless 
bags of bones, and their hideous condition was made more 
apparent by the other natives who were about in the 
villages, well fed and active. In fact, there was as much 
contrast between the rich and the poor here as one sees 
without noticing it in a European city. Here, however, 
it struck one with a very unpleasant force. The starve- 
lings were the people whose banana crops had failed, and, 
just as in Europe, the other villagers who were better off 
took no practical thought for them, but let them starve. I 
shall never forget the impression this difference among 



the people made upon me at the time, especially when 
they were all gathered round their chief after he had come 
to see us. They were all quite friendly one with another, 
but some were actually starving where they stood, just as 
if they had been a crowd of rich and poor in some great 
European city. It struck one, however, in Central Africa, 

The salt lake at Katwi. On the near shore are the iiiucl ring's in which natives 
allow the w’ater to evaporate for salt. 

for in these supposed seats of barbarism things of this sort 
do not usually happen, but the people hereabout in the 
country we were entering had many European attributes, 
and were among the very worst type of native, as we 
.shall see. 

When we have had an object in view for some time 
which we wish to attain, and which seems to be approach- 
ing attainment, as we had had the great volcanoes north 



of Kivu, the inopportune obtrusion of hideous things, 
such as the miserable condition of these wretched people, 
awakens a kind of resentment, a feeling of animosity 
towards things in general, and a sort of impression that 
the whole drift of the universe with respect to human 
affairs is intentionally and designedly bad. I felt some- 
thing of this sort here, but at the next camping ground, 
a lonely spot on the flanks of the great eastern mountains, 
it was destined to be brought back again, in another and 
a far worse form. We had come in all right after the 
day’s march, and were in full view of the great cone of 
Kirungu Cha Gungo, which rose over an undulating 
plain stretching from our camping ground to its forest- 
clad base in the west. Our goal seemed, therefore, at 
our feet ; the local chief had come in bringing presents, 
and seemed so friendly that I had allowed the men to go 
where they liked and buy food among the villages. All 
things continued in order until about nine o’clock, when 
our content was suddenly broken by Omari, who ap- 
proached the tent with a long face. He told us that one 
of the porters named Melinda had not returned ; he said 
he thought that something must have happened to him. 
I did not pay very much attention to the matter at the 
time, as I thought the man would probably turn up later, 
but next morning he was still missing, and we learned 
from his brother and from some of the friendly natives of 
the district that he had wandered off, like the fool of a 
nigger that he was, into another Sultan’s territory, and 
had probably been killed. This at any rate was the ex- 
planation of his disappearance, which was offered to us 
by the friendly Sultan who had come into our camp 
the night before. It seemed impossible to overlook the 
matter and go on ; in fact, the Sudanese sergeant almost 



mutinied when I spoke of it ; and as a matter of fact, had 
we done so, the news that the porters of our caravan 
could be robbed and murdered with impunity would have 
been shouted far and wide among the wild tribesmen who 
were watching us from the adjoining hills, and would 

, \ i .'--Aiss ■••'■'■.■A “ v„ ' 

I^ake Kuisamba and the Katwi plains. 

certainly have led to further murders, and finally to a 
state of open war. 

It was only on the word of the friendly chief that we 
had been led to believe that the man had been killed out- 
side his own sphere of influence, and as all these people 
are notorious liars, my first action was to seize this chief 
and ten of his men, who were in camp, and have him in- 
formed that they would remain where they were for the 
present, so as to give us some sort of hold on the people 
about. The attitude of these same people was not nice ; 


they had collected in groups on the hills and points of 
vantage in the neighbourhood, with their short bows and 
spears and poisoned arrows ; in fact, while we talked there 
must have been three or four hundred of them, watching 
us from the sky line in different directions. I was by no 
means sure whether the story of our porter having been 
killed by the other chief, who had not paid us his respects, 
was true, and so in the afternoon I went with two Sudanese 
and Omari and several men to the village where our miss- 
ing porter was said to have been last seen. The village 
was deserted, the inhabitants following us at a distance ; 
but later on we surprised a woman in a plantation, and 
she told us that a head-man of her tribe, called Kiburro- 
burro, had found our unfortunate porter in a village and 
had had him speared. She said she had seen it done in 
the village in which the man had been murdered the 
night before, before the chiefs house. The people were 
still following afar off, and as they suddenly came closer 
when we entered the village, I gave the order to open fire, 
and they instantly fled. We then burned down the chief s 
house, and all the huts in the immediate enclosure, together 
with some grain stores, and went back into camp again. 

Next day once more we set off towards the mountains. 
We made a wide detour to the north, for our guides 
whom the friendly chief had given us said that there was 
no water to be found on the low plains which stretched 
directly between us and the mountain slopes. We travelled 
all day over very broken and curious country composed of 
lava, which had at some time swept down from the great 
extinct cone of Karisimbi to the south. The ground was 
covered with bushes and grass, the path was hardly dis- 
cernible, the sky was dark and lowering, and it rained 
heavily almost throughout the day. Near to us, and now 



and then showing its gigantic form through the heavy roll- 
ing clouds, was the wild and jagged peak of Sabiin, while 
to our left in the west, the dark forest-clad slopes of the 
active Kirungu Cha Gungo swept up into the mist. After 
a long wet march, which passed finally through heavy 

Afternoon tea on the road to Fort Jerry. 

dripping forest, we came out on to a cold grassy slope 
and camped at a height of seven thousand feet. Near 
this camp to which our guides had led us there was an 
old tumble-down shed with a grass roof, which the natives 
had used for their cattle, and in which there was a solitary 
bull calf “ however he came there,” and nothing else. 
After the camp fires had been lighted, I placed our eighteen 

1 98 


guides whom the friendly chief had lent us in this shed, 
for he had expressly told us that, having received an 
advance of cloth, they would bolt on the first opportunity, 
and that at night they must be strictly guarded. He evi- 
dently knew his people well. As it drew towards sunset 
in this cheerless, wet, cold camp, the heavy clouds rolled 
off from the sodden sides of the great volcanoes, which 
were now quite close, and seemed almost to enclose us 
and jxs they majestically departed, we had a magnificent 
view, first of Karisimbi and then of Sabiin, every detail 
of their wild lava streams and rain-scored slopes showing 
clear and sharp in the keen evening light. The lower 
flanks of the mountains were covered with heavy forest, 
but the higher slopes were clothed with a short vegetation 
which seemed to follow their forms like a glistening 
covering of green plush. The crest of Sabiin is of sheer 
black rock, which rises in a succession of dizzy cloud- 
spanned precipice.s into a sharp peak, which very per- 
ceptibly overhangs towards the east. 

Looking west towards Kirungu Cha Gungo, the great 
cone now rose bare and brown over the green forest of the 
lower slopes, with a lacework of fine black lava streams 
descending from the crater’s lip. From the crater itself 
huge masses of steam and smoke rose slowly, and drifted 
away into the rain and mist. Further to the west again 
there was another cone rather lower, and not so steep, 
from the summit of which black smoke was issuing, and 
along the lower lava streams near the top there were 
strings of fumeroles giving out brilliant white jets of steam. 
This is the mountain which Gotzen described as the second 
active cone of the series, and named Namlagiro-ya-Gongo. 

From both this mountain (which we heard the 
natives call Kirungu Cha Moto) and Kirungu Cha 



Gungo huge black lava streams of recent date descended 
through the forests, like vast black rivers, which joined 
and looped round patches of still standing green forest, 
and then joined again. They were in places miles across, 
and all those which we could see trended away to the 
south down towards the flat, hot, game plains south of the 

Kuphorbia trees on the Katwi plains. 

Albert Edward Nyanza. From their character and fresh- 
ness, it is probable that all these streams were formed 
during the eruption, part of which Count Gdtzen witnessed, 
in 1894. 

Kirungu Cha Qungo, before our visit, had only been 
ascended by Count Gotzen himself, and it was therefore 
of interest that we should endeavour to reach the rim of 
the crater also, and verify the height which Gdtzen had 



obtained of 11,300 feet. From where we stood there did 
not appear to be any difficulty in the ascent, and I retired 
to rest filled with the pleasant prospect of starting to the 
mountains on the following day. Once more, however, 
the beastly native broke in upon my dreams. I was sound 
asleep, and it must have been in the middle of the night, 
when I was suddenly awoke by shouting in the direction 
of the cow-shed, and finally by the loud bang of one 
of the old German Mauser rifles carried by the guard. 
Almost immediately three or four more shots followed, and 
I sprang out of bed thinking the camp must be rushed. 
When I looked out everything seemed in confusion, but 
as soon as we could hear ourselves speak, it appeared that 
all the guides lent us by the chief had made a bolt of it 
together from the shed ; they had knocked over the sentry 
as he sat by the fire outside, and clubbed him with a 
stick. In the scuffle which followed his rifle had gone off, 
and one of the guides was shot through the body, and 
died in a few minutes, while the sentry had held another 
till the rest of the guard came up. These continual 
uproars and susjjicions, and these sudden violent disturb- 
ances were really becoming terrible, and I began to wish 
we had never set foot in the cursed country at all. 



“ A land of old upheaven from the abyss 
By fire, to sink into the abyss a^ain ! 

Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt, 

And the long mountains ended in a coast 
Of ever shifting sand.” 

— Tennyson. 

Morning, however, brought a change. Nature repairs her 
ravages, as George Eliot said, and daylight broke as cold 
and clear and brilliant as it does in an English June; and 
when we looked round, moreover, we saw, to our immense 
surprise, that the tip of the great cone of Karisimbi was 
covered with a white sprinkling of snow. We buried the 
wretched guide who had been shot by the sentry the 
night before, like “ Bartholomew out in the woods, in a 
beautiful hole in the ground,” and then sent out to the 
local chiefs, who after a time came in. I spent the morning 
trying to make arrangements about getting up the active 
cone. The negotiations were long and tedious, and were 
carried on in something after the following manner ; — 

“ Good morning, chief.” 

“ Good morning, white man.” 

“ Which is the best way up your cursed mountain 
yonder ? ” 

“ There is no way up.” 

“ But I am going to make a way.” 

“ No one ever goes there; it is full of devils." 




“ Can I get food and water on the way for my men ? ” 

“ There is no food.” 

“Is there food here ? " 

“ No, not enough to feed a baby.” 

“ How do you live ; you look as if you fed 
“ We have no food.” 

“ What do you live on then ? ” 

“ We don’t live ; we die.” 

“ Is there any food near the mountain ? ” 

“ No, there is no food anywhere.” 

“ Are there any people near the mountain ? ” 

“ No ; and when you go there, they will all run away.” 

“ Are there any paths beyond those villages which we 
can see away up there ? " 

“ We have never heard of any.” 

It was not promising, and in consequence of the stu- 
pidity and shyness of these people, my first attempt upon 
the cone was a complete failure. It appeared from where 
we stood that the great black lava streams which showed 
up through the forest towards the north were fairly smooth, 
as if there was much ash upon them ; and I came to the 
conclusion that if I pushed my way through the narrowest 
belts of forest which separated us from these lava streams, 
the ascent would be comparatively easy. I therefore told 
Omari Kidogo to get twenty men ready with their food to 
start next day. The natives had told us that there was no 
water to be found in the porous lava and ash of which the 
great mountain was formed, and I therefore had a big tin 
filled with water as a reserve. We set out, and our descent 
into the valley, which lay between the slopes of Sabiin 
on which our camp was pitched and those of Kirungu Cha 
Gungo, was quickly accomplished, and we finally struck 



into the heavy forest which clothes the long lower slopes of 
the active cone. This forest we found at first to be 
very heavy and very picturesque, but it soon gave place to- 
excessively thick bush growing on rough ground, composed 
of old lava covered with moss. It was positively dangerous 
walking here, as the moss-clad lava broke under our feet 

Klephant Camp and the Southern spurs of the Mountains of the Moon. 

like glass, cutting the porter’s shins in a wretched manner. 
After a very trying march, we found the bush to end 
abruptly on the fresh lava, which towered over the sort of 
forest in which we stood, in huge banks composed of tum- 
bled, broken masses of slag and stone, sixty to seventy feet 
in height. We scrambled up, but on the top of the stream 
things were no better, and as I looked up the miles ot 
charred and jagged desolation which separated us from the 



steaming summit, I began to realize that any attempt by 
way of the lava streams, with bare-footed natives, was fore- 
doomed to failure. It still seemed, however, that further 
up, near the saddle between the two great cones, there was 
much more soft ash, and I therefore decided to cross the 
stream we were on, and to attempt to follow a long tongue 
of forest which stretched nearly to the saddle between the 
peaks. Having crossed the lava, which took about two 
hours and was terrible for the men, we found that the. forest 
was almost impassable, for it grew on very rough ground, 
and was very thick indeed. I clambered out of it back on 
to the edge of the stream and sat there debating what we 
had better do, but before we had decided a terrific thunder- 
storm came on with such fury that it settled the matter for 
the time being. The rain came down in solid grey floods, 
and we took what shelter we could under some bushes and 
under a small patrol tent. It was almost mid-day, but as 
the storm increased the gloom became so great that I could 
only see the frightened faces of my men momentarily in the 
red glare of the lightning, which lasbed through the sky, 
accompanied by short crackling reports that almost deafened 
one. It was the very worst storm I ever saw, and at its 
height the heavy gloom which surrounded us was almost 
continually lit by a flickering red flare of lightning, which 
appeared literally to pour over us and around us on to the 
ground. When it was over we gathered ourselves up in 
silence, and went up on to the lava again as it were to 
take breath. 

It was now already afternoon, and I saw that our only 
chance lay in recrossing the stream to a point in the forest 
higher up, from whence we could endeavour to cut our way 
directly towards the cone. 

The wretched porters came very slowly over the 


spiky lava with their bare feet, and by the time they 
had all got across it was already twilight, and we had 
lighted our fires in the shadow of the forest, just at 
the edge of the great desolate calcined fields. Our entry 
into the forest was here made difficult by the charred 
and fallen stems of giant trees, which had been swept 

Another view of Elephant Camp. 

down on the lava from above when it was still hot 
enough to flow. These fallen giants were now moss- 
grown, and as I sat upon them . on the edge of the 
stream, watching the last of the men come in, the two 
great cones of Sabiin and Karisimbi came out of 
their clouds and stood for perhaps a quarter of an 
hour, vast and dark against the pale eastern sky, then 
they wrapped themselves up again in fold upon fold of 



mist, and I began to realise that the great ghostly 
forest was a very wet and a very unpleasant place, 
and that I had better make the best of a bad dinner 
and go to sleep. 

Next morning we rose early and began at once to 
cut our way into the darkest and heaviest forest I 
have ever seen. Nothing could be made out beneath 
the gloom of the gigantic trees which arched together 
over our heads, except a wilderness of moss-clad 
dripping creepers which swung in endless rows from 
the upper branches of the trees, and dangled into 
an undergrowth of bushes and stinging nettles, that 
grew to a height of twelve to twenty feet. I had 

therefore simply to direct the men by compass to a 
point in the direction of which I knew the cone must 
lie. The monotonous chop, chop of the knives in 
front, and then a step forwards, went on hour after 

hour, until about eleven oclock, when we began to 

ascend rapidly and got into a very bad place. We 
had followed an elephant track, and this led to the 
edge of a crevasse, along which we had to cut our 
way back again for perhaps a quarter of a mile. 

Afterwards, by following an old lava ridge, on which 
the forest was thinner, we emerged into an open 
space of grass which was covered with fresh elephant 
spore. Here we had lunch and were serenaded by a 
band of cheerful elephants, who trumpeted loudly in the 
forest to the west. About the same time the clouds 
rose on the dark slopes of the mighty cone and then 
rolled off altogether, leaving every furrowed ridge and 
gully on its steep bare sides brilliantly cut, and looking 
in the clear air tantalisingly close to where we lay. 

I pushed on at once, for unless we slept near the 



top, it would be impossible to reach it, as the men, 
I found to my disgust, after their manner, had brought 
but little food. Further up the forest became again 
very heavy, and the ascent very steep, but although 
we moved on without stopping, when the upper twigs 
and branches of the great trees that surrounded us 

Camp on the road to I'ort Jerry Avitli the outer rang’cs of the Mountains of the Moon. 

became pink with the setting sun, we seemed hope- 
lessly in the forest still. My aneroid read 10,000 
feet, and I should have gone on still in the hope 
of getting out of the wood, but now the Sudanese, 
whom we had brought with us, became ill with 
mountain sickness, and as I saw no prospect of getting 
out of the terrible jungle in which we lay, or of 
finding out where we were that day, I decided to 



give it up. We therefore returned, reaching the place 
where we had lunched, and we camped. When the 
moon rose, the great cone of the mountain appeared 
above the trees clear and wrinkled and furrowed with 
shadows, which formed a sort of broad grin as if it was 
laughing at our discomfiture on its slopes. We spent 
a very cold, uncomfortable night ; the men were 
wretchedly thirsty and had no water ; and almost 
before dawn we began to retrace our steps, marching 
to a chorus of elephants, which trumpeted in the 
woods most of the way, reaching our camp about 
three o’clock. 

So far, then, the mountain had very much got the 
best of it, but after my return to camp we decided to 
make another attempt, Fergusson and I going together 
by another route, straight at the cone. This time we 
took four large tins of water, and we also induced 
some natives to show us the way along their paths 
to some huts which we had seen on a secondary 
cone on the first slopes of the main mountain mass ; 
we also took several live goats for food for our- 
selves and our men. For this kind of work live 
goats are invaluable ; they can climb almost anywhere 
where a man can : they are not like inanimate 
provisions ; they do not need to be carried, and they can 
be killed and eaten whenever they are required. More- 
over they are fresh meat, and that, for arduous work, 
is a great thing. It was indeed through their use in 
this way that I was afterwards successful among the 
snow peaks of the Ruwenzori mountains. 

After our second start we reached the huts which 
I had seen on the secondary cone about noon. Here 
we found a few native gardens, and a most genial old 


chief. After some conversation, we induced him to 
show us the tracks which extend further up the 
mountain and have been used by the natives when 
setting traps for Hyrax and other game. He 
said, however, that he would not go up the cone 
itself, as it was full of devils, and that neither he nor 

Scene in the lower forests on the Mountains of the Moon. 

his father before him had ever set foot upon it. He 
led us a long way, and finally lost the path, and he 
was then determined to circle round the great cone along 
the game tracks. After meandering about in this way 
for some time and not getting any higher, we decided to 
strike straight into the forest in a bee line for the cone 
itself .'Although heavy, the vegetation here was not 
nearly so big as that encountered on my first journey 



to the north ; and after a time wc began to ascend 
rapidly, the ground becoming so steep that the porters 
were continually falling forward as wc stumbled along. 
Towards evening matters changed ; we began to obtain 
glimpses of the surrounding country, away behind and 
below us, a gleaming stretch of Kivu appeared among 
the capes and bays in the south, while directly behind 
us there rose the dark spurs of Sabiin and Karisimbi, 
sharply cut off above by curtains of heavy cloud. We 
also began to get clear of the heavy timber, coming 
up into small forest and heath trees at an altitude ot 
about ten thousand feet. One of the men here was 
unable to go on. I gave him brandy, and we decided 
to camp a little higher up, sending out some men 
who carried the sick porter in to the camp. He 
appeared to be suffering from mountain sickness. The 
wind was bitterly cold, and some time after we had 
lighted fires and the camp was beginning to shake 
down I found that the porters, instead of bringing the 
sick man into the shelters near the. fire which they had 
made, had left him about twenty yards further down, 
heels up, and without a rag of clothing. I found also, 
to my dismay, that by some .stupidity my own blankets 
had been left behind at the camp, and I was obliged to 
make myself as warm as I could with one of Fergusson’s 
and the help of a fire. The ground where we slept was 
excessively steep, and we had to wedge ourselves in 
among tree roots, or, after falling asleep, we rolled down 
out of our blankets into the bitterly cold wind. 

Shortly after daybreak we again went on, getting 
clear of the forest in about an hour, and coming finally 
on to the bare lava and ashes of the cone, among which 
there grew stunted and more or less scorched heath 



trees. We stumbled up through these until near the top, 
and all the way could distinctly see the clouds of smoke 
and steam rapidly rising from the crater itself. As we 
neared the summit the ascent became almost precipitous, 
but we finally got out on to the rim of the great cone, 
which we found to be composed of lava, and which broke 
away immediately before us into the vast abyss of the 
crater itself. The morning around us was clear and sunny, 
but the immense mouth of the volcano was full of steam 
and smoke, and looking into it we could see nothing 
but the frowning edges of a perpendicular descent. The 
crater is a good deal more than a mile in width, and its 
base so far below where we stood that blocks of lava 
dislodged into it merely crashed and splintered and 
bounded from ledge to ledge, until they finally dis- 
appeared both from sight and sound. The men as they 
looked into the dark ominous cavern were frightened 
and nervous, but the remaining goats ascended the black 
pinnacles bounding the abyss and stood peering into it, 
with their long beards waving in the wind. 

Looking away from the crater, the view from the 
summit of the mountain was superb ; the bays and capes 
of Kivu stretched away into a blue haze in the south, 
while far away to the north, beyond some endless 
yellow plains, there gleamed the white water of the 
Albert Edward Nyanza itself. F'urther west, there 
appeared the high, scored, green ranges, forming the 
western wall of the central valley, their flanks covered 
with black shreds and patches of the Congo pigmy 
forests, and away again to the east, between the cones 
of Sabiin and Karisimbi, there appeared the opposing 
wall of the great valley. We took boiling point observa- 
tions on the rim, which made our altitude 11,350 feet. 



Gotzen’s observations on the point which he had reached, 
not quite the same, had made it 11,300 feet, so that the 
altitude of this, perhaps the most important and inter- 
esting mountain in Central Africa, has now been de- 
finitely fixed. 



“ But piled with summits hid 
In lines of cloud at intervals 
Stood many a mountain pyramid.” 

— Shelley. 

When we left our camp, to make the second and success- 
ful attempt on the cone of Kirungu Cha Gungo, we had 
arranged that Omari should move the rest of the expedi- 
tion on to another camping ground, one day’s march away, 
on to the northern slopes of the great extinct cone of 
Sabiin. We did this because it had rained almost 
without any intermission day and night on the southern 
slopes of this mountain. Although it was often clear for 
a few minutes at dusk and dawn, the delicate mist wreaths 
which formed round the dank green crest of Karisimbi 
about sunrise would gradually increase and descend and 
finally spread westward in a canopy of heavy cloud. 
About nine o’clock, all the time we were in the neigh- 
bourhood it was raining heavily, and continued to do so 
more or less throughout the day. The camp was wet and 
cold, and the men, as one might expect even after my 
return from the first attempt upon the cone, were suffering 
from exposure. 

We returned from the top of Kirungu Cha Gungo, 
therefore^ not towards the old camp, but in the direction 
of the new one. We made very good progress during the 



day, and at sunset were among the wet grassy hollows in 
the V'shaped valley between the cones of Kirungu Cha 
Gungo and Sabiin. Fergusson and I were both very 
tired, but we made some sort of a meal of Bovril and 
whisky, and then sat smoking in the little patrol tent, for 
a hopeless downpour of heavy rain had again come on. 
Later on it cleared, and I decided to push on to the main 
body of the camp by moonlight, Fergusson, who had not 
been well, preferring to remain where he was, in the tent, 
for the night. A grunting, “ low-down native,” with no 
clothes in the cold wind but a belt of sheepskin an inch 
and a half wide, showed me the way. It led up hill and 
down dale, over rivers and through forests, under great 
trees where the shadows were as black as night, where the 
ground was full of snags and holes, and we were afraid to 
move for fear of elephant pits ; down into steep canons, 
through roaring streams, until, after stumbling blindly 
along for several hours, we came on to the flatter ground 
which is formed by the great northern slopes of Sabiin. 
Here the way was over bushy land, ;ind in the clear blue 
moonlight I could see the huge black lava streams 
straggling away to the north into a vast depression, which 
stretched out, indistinct in that direction, apparently to 
infinity. Far away over these lava slopes, which descended 
from the twin active cones, there appeared in the west, 
indistinct and mysterious in the moonlight, a long range 
of distant mountains ; and these were in reality a con- 
tinuation of the mountains north of the volcanoes form- 
ing the western edge of the great central valley of the 

The night was chilly and cold, and as we passed some 
irregular ground there came borne on the damp air a sudden 
and a sickening stench. It increased with every step, 



and then there appeared two or three black objects, lying 
about among the bushes, over which the moonlight played 
in such a way that one could not at first realise whether 
they were logs or what. Nearer, however, they showed 
up clear and ghastly enough as the bodies of two men, 
with their flesh washed partly off their white bones and 

’' 4 ' 

Voresl and moss at 10,000 feet. 

tendons by the endless heavy rain. Only a mile or so on 
we passed another, and I thought we had encountered as 
many corpses as we were likely to see in one night’s 
ordinary travel anywhere, but on a further rise the guide 
lost his way and we waited on the edge of a deep valley, 
until he enquired among some huts on what particular 
ridge our camp had been pitched. I was very tired and 



sleepy, and while he was away, I sat down on what I took, 
in the black and white shadows of the moon, to be an old 
log. It had not the consistency of a log, however, when 
sat upon ; in a sort of sense it gave way, and when I put 
my hands down on to it they pushed through a rotten sur- 
face, beneath which protruded the white, long since dead, 
and rain-washed bones of a man. I got up and said 
nothing, for I thought it was quite time to be moving on, 
so I called the guide back. i abused him in all the 
languages 1 knew, and 1 beat him with a thick stick, for 
ever bringing me into such a ghastly sodden graveyard 
as that through which we had just passed. It was like 
the country described in ** Maud ” : 

“ Wretchedest land since the world began, 

They cannot even bury a man,’* 

but leave him to rot anywhere he may happen to be about 
the soaked country side. I pushed away by myself to a 
hut in which there was a fire. It was crowded with 
natives, some asleep on the floor, some huddled round the 
fire, like the evil spirits of the weird country in which they 
lived. We pulled down the door of the hut and looked 
at them. As soon as they saw it was none of their own 
people who had approached, but a white man with an 
armed guard round him, they rolled on the ground like 
the vile beasts that they were, and spat and did other 
things, to show that being surprised in their filthy hot 
den, which reeked with smoke and their own peculiar 
stench, they would do anything as long as their wretched 
selves were not speared or killed. It took us nearly a 
quarter of an hour to make them understand that we did 
not want to touch them ; that we only wanted to know the 
way to our main camp, and that we would then depart. 



giving them cloth and beads. After a time, however, and 
after having it repeated to them over and over again, it 
seemed to dawn on them that this was perhaps really all 
we wanted, and a wrinkled old caricature of a man, with 
the flesh hanging in folds over his stomach, probably 
through eating uncooked beans all his life, and looking 
very much like a celebrated picture of Job, pointed out to 
us that we were some way off the camp, that in fact it lay 
on another ridge altogether and on a different path. We 
reached it about two in the morning, the sentries challeng- 
ing us fiercely in the dark as we approached. I roused 
up the men, drank a bottle of champagne, and went to 

I slept till late in the day — it was, indeed, only the 
noise of Fergusson’s arrival in the camp which awoke 
me ; he, too, required stimulants, having passed the 
putrefying men along the road, and in broad daylight. 

Morning showed us a wonderful landscape ; we were on 
the north-west slopes of Sabiin, looking west and north, 
with the two great,, cones of Kirungu Cha Gungo and 
Kirungu Cha Moto striding away from us across the 
valley towards the west. The delicate western slopes of 
these mountains abutted abruptly on to the long ranges of 
green and purple scarps which bounded the horizon to the 
west, and which form the western wall of the great valley 
of the lakes. Before us to the north the long volcanic 
slopes descended gently and far into a boundless sea ot 
yellow sun-scorched grass, which covered the flat bottom 
of the great valley of the lakes as far as the eye could 
see, or nearly so, for against the distant western ranges, 
far away to the north, there appeared the pale glint of a 
watery expanse, which was in reality the southern bays 
and creeks of the Albert Edward Nyanza itself. 




' What was most surprising, however, was the contrast in 
colour between the wet, dank, green mountain slopes over 
which we had passed and the almost equally green and 
damp shores of Lake Kivu and those yellow desert-like 
plains, which now lay shimmering in heat and haze away 
to the north. We were, in fact, on the narrow sloping 
boundary between two entirely different climates, and all 
this day and the next we were walking down out of the 
wild wet forest and the rain-shrouded uplands of the 
Mfumbiro mountains and the Kivu regions, into the blue 
heat and scorching cloudless days of the ordinary tropical 
African climate. 

The change was marvellous, for we had been, at and 
above a level of five thousand feet, for some six weeks or 
more exposed to cold and rain as trying as that encountered 
in the worst type of an English November. We were now 
dropping every hour into the old familiar scenery of sun- 
swept plains covered with tall yellow grass and studded 
with gigantic clumps of trees, now a euphorbia and now 
some huge African figs, which spread their heavy foliage 
over a dismantled group of huts. The air was warm and 
dry and the sunshine fiery, while behind us rose the wild 
seared forms of the volcanic cones, with their heavy canopy 
of cloud drifting in sheets of rain and purple shadow behind 
them to the south and west. 

But besides being strange and new and surprising, the 
scene before and around us was most interesting ; its 
features in fact threw in an instant more light on the past 
relationships of the long chain of lakes which stretches from 
Tanganyika to the Albert Nyanza, than anything which I 
had hitherto seen. 

It will be remembered that on passing north up the 
great central trough beyond Tanganyika we found that 



this lake had at some time extended north for a consider- 
able distance, but that its old northward extension had 
apparently always been barred by some high ridges which 
run diagonally across the trough for many miles south of 
Kivu, and which rise to a height of six or seven thousand 
feet. It is, indeed, these great transverse ridges, partly 
obliterating the great trough, which hold the water of 

View in the bamboo zone on the Mountains of the Moon. 

Kivu at its present surprising height of nearly five 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. The outflow of 
Kivu we found pursued its way out over the top of these 
ridges in the shape of the Rusisi river, and the channel 
of this river, where I examined it at its upper end, ap- 
peared to be, geologically speaking, very new. Nearly 
seventy ijjiles north of the open portion of the great central 
troi^h in which Lake Kivu lies was, we found, again 




blocked, not this time, however, by old eruptive granitoid 
rock, but by the huge accumulation of modern matter, 
composing the volcanoes of the Mfumbiro range, which 
lie transversely to the long axis of the great central 
trough. From where we stood now we looked over the 
northern slope of this great volcanic dam, and could see 
it descending between the sides of the gigantic trough, 
until it ended in what were almost without doubt alluvial 
and lacustrine plains, which extended beyond the volcanic 
slopes northwards, and lay at about the same level as the 
gleaming waters of the Albert Edward Nyanza. 

We had seen while we were on Kivu that this lake now 
contains nothing but a typically fresh water fauna of 
mollusca, fish, etc. In fact, it has the fauna typical of a 
great upland pond, but up to this point in our journey I 
had not felt sure that the present fauna of Kivu might 
not have originated afresh from the surrounding rivers, 
after the volcanic disturbances had destroyed whatever 
types of animals had existed in the lake itself. There is 
now no water connection between the. Kivu and the Albert 
Edward Nyanza basins. The great modern volcanic mass 
covers all up between, but it is obvious, from the similarity 
between the live shells in Kivu itself and the dead shells 
which we found subsequently during our journey in the 
cuttings of the Ruchuru river, which flows from the 
northern slopes of the volcanic dam into the Albert Edward 
Nyanza, that at one time there was water, one lake, or a 
chain of connected lakes, extending all the way from the 
site of Kivu in the south to that of the Albert Nyanza in 
the north, and that the water in these districts, neither in 
the present nor in the past, has contained any trace of the 
characteristically marine animals found in Tanganyika still 
further to the south. 



Thus it appeared at once, as I looked over this 
district, what had been the main features of the past 
history of all the lake north of Tanganyika ; and sub- 
sequent observations relating to the fauna of the Albert 
Edward and the Albert Nyanzas, and to the past and 
present levels of these lakes with respect to that of 

Portions of tlie central peaks of the Mountains of the Moon from the bfimboo zone. 

Kivu, entirely confirmed the impression which the 
character of the land over which we had passed up 
to this point in our journey had produced in my mind. 

The subject is more fully discussed in the volume in 
which I have described the purely scientific results of 
the present expedition ; but it may be stated here that 
the facts which I have above enumerated show dis- 



tinctly that at some time not very long ago, Kivu or 
a lake in its bed was connected directly with the Albert 
Edward and the Albert Nyanzas ; that all these lakes 
were probably a little higher than the Nyanzas are now, 
something over 3,000 feet, but not nearly so high as 
Kivu is at the present time. 

Besides those above stated, there are many other reasons 
for regarding the time when Kivu first flowed over into 
Tanganyika as not by any means remote, not least among 
them being the fact that the water of Kivu is very strongly 
impregnated with saline matter, although the lake has a 
much larger outlet in proportion to its bulk than has 
Nyassa. There arc, moreover, certain facts relating to the 
animals found in Tanganyika which are only explicable 
under some such supposition. For the details of these 
matters I must, however, refer the reader to the other 
volume ; all I wish to do here is to awaken interest in the 
very important r61e which the Kivu region and its modern 
volcanoes have played in the formation of some of the 
broadest features of the African continent as we now see it. 

After the Kivu drainage area had drained northward for 
an unknown time, the volcanic disturbances took place in 
the Mfumbiro Mountains, and ultimately resulted in the 
formation of the present lofty cones, but as the activity 
has unquestionably proceeded from cast to west, 
successive cones having been formed one after another 
in this direction across the floor of the great central 
trough, it is probable that the final separation of the 
Kivu and the Albert Edward basins has happened 
actually in quite recent times ; for this separation is at 
present simply effected by the western slopes of 
Kirungu Cha Moto, which run up to and abut against 
the western sides of the great central trough, and at 



their lowest points are not very much above the level 
of the waters of Lake Kivu itself. After the forma- 
tion of this dam we have, as I have explained in the 
volume dealing with the scientific work of the expedi- 
tion, direct evidence to show that the water in Kivu 
gradually rose until it flowed across the top of the 
ridges to the south which had previously separated the 
basins of Tanganyika and Kivu from all time. 

Cut off from the great drainage basin of Kivu the 
waters of the Albert Edward Nyanza and the Albert 
Nyanza shrank and fell considerably, as is evidenced 
by the old beaches and water-marks all along the 
shores of these lakes ; in fact, it is probable that it was 
at this time that the two Nyanzas became separated 
from each other as distinct lakes, for the whole of the 
great Semliki valley stretching between them is nothing 
but the floor of what was once a lake ; indeed, the 
floor of an old lake has become dry in places, and the 
lake that was is now represented by a string of shrinking 

In this curious and interesting way, then, has the 
whole character of the watershed of Central Africa 
been changed ; one huge lake, Kivu, has been added to 
the Congo system, while at the same time a large 
drainage area has been cut off from the tributaries of the 
Upper Nile. Both these results of the formation of the, 
geologically speaking, recent Kivu dam have probably 
had very wide-reaching results, in completely changing 
the geographical features of an area of the African 
interior which is bigger than the whole of Europe. 

If we look at the Luakuga, the outlet of Tanganyika 
as it now exists, it is a river not nearly so big as the 
Rusisi which flows into Tanganyika, from Kivu, and 



therefore if we were to shut off the Rusisi from Tan- 
ganyika, the latter lake would cease to overflow. The 
Rusisi was not always flowing out of Kivu to the south 
as we have seen, and therefore it is extremely probable 
that the connection of Tanganyika with the Congo also is 
of recent date. 

When the volcanic dam north of Kivu was first 
formed, its effect would be felt to the north much sooner 
than in the south, for it would mean that the whole drainage 
area of Kivu was cut off from the Nile. We know that 
there is evidence in history that on the Upper Nile 
there existed huge lakes, which have now dried up and 
disappeared, and it is quite probable that the shrinkage 
of the upper waters of the great river of Egypt 
which appears to have taken place is directly con- 
nected with the formation of the Kivu dam. After 
this dam was once formed, not only must the Nile 
supply have shrunk, by the very large amount of water 
collected from the Kivu drainage area, but the water 
to the south of the volcanic dam, which was imprisoned 
still further to the south by the old ridges separating 
the Tanganyika and the Kivu basins, must have 
slowly risen year after year, and probably century after 
century, until it reached its present extraordinary high 
level, and then flowed over into Tanganyika. 

From the foregoing interesting reflections I returned to 
the somewhat hard and less edifying realities of the eastern 
flanks of the great central trough of the African lakes, 
along which we were now moving. After some distance 
we left the slope of this trough, and struck out over the 
flat plains to the north. We passed alternately through 
patches of forest, through plantations, and over expanses of 
yellow grass, and towards mid-day we reached a village 



of some pretensions on the eastern edge of the plain. 
The people were shy and fled at our approach, but after 
a time came near enough to speak to us while we were 
lunching in the shade of their banana trees, which formed 
a pleasant screen from the now powerful sun. In about 
two hours the chief decided to give us guides to take 

Crossing the heath forest in the Mountains of the Moon. 

us on to the next Sultan, near the south end of the 
Albert Nyanza. The country was becoming again pic- 
turesque ; it was, in fact, assuming that park-like appear- 
ance which the alluvial plains of Africa have been found 
again and again to present. The shyness of the 
natives was, however, very troublesome, as it made it 
impossible to be sure of getting any food for our hun- 



dred and odd men. Towards evening we approached a 
village, but long before we were within shouting distance 
we saw the inhabitants streaming away, with their goats 
and sheep and fowls. We halted on a ridge about half a 
mile from the native town, and our guides, who had come 
to introduce us to the Sultan of this place, tried to get into 
communication with the timid villagers from a small hill- 
top. There they stood in a group, eight of them, with 
their presents of vvhitc cloth blowing off their black naked 
bodies, gesticulating with their broad-headed spears and 
bawling at the tops of their voices, “ Mho Mrabbi, Mho 
Mrabbi, Mho Mrabbi, Mhey ! Mho Mrabbi, Mho Mrabbi, 
Mho Mrabbi, Mhey ! ** But it was not till after a long 
time that we got the people to speak to us, and finally to 
sell us grain and bananas and two goats for the men. Our 
loud-voiced guides then said adieu to us, as they were 
afraid to go further afield among the wild people of the 
surrounding district ; and the chief of the village himself 
volunteered to show us the way to the next camping 
ground, over the plains to the north. « 



“ And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee 
shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust.” 

— Deu/erotiomy xxviii. 23-24. 

The vast desert-plains which form the floor of the great 
central valley south of the Albert Edward Nyaiiza, and 
over which we were now travelling, are diversified by a 
number of dry river beds and water cuttings. These 
rivers, when they How, descend from the flanking hills and 
sooner or later join the Ruchuru itself as it meanders from 
the south to the north down the centre of the valley. In 
the hollows formed by these departed watercourses and 
along the banks of the existing streams there are thin 
woods, chiefly composed of acacias and euphorbias, which 
are intermixed with open patches of desert-like sandy 
ground, much as they are m the better-known territories 
of Somaliland ; and as we gradually entered this typically 
African scenery, we also entered a land of game. Hitherto 
we had seen no more game than is usually met with in 
traversing any part of the great interior. There had been 
everywhere a certain amount, but, except on the plains 
north and east of Nyassa and south and east of Tan- 
ganyika, we had obtained nothing extraordinary in the 
way of sport. We had, indeed, encountered plenty of 
eland, water-buck, reed-buck, zebra, roan antelope, and 
puku on the Tanganyika and Nyassa plateaux, and while 



Fergusson and I were in company with one of the African 
Lakes Corporation’s agents on the way to Abercorn, our 
temporary companion had shot four mare zebras in about 
as many minutes, out of a single herd. At the time, this 
proceeding had moved me to some wrath, and I had re- 
marked to Fergusson that the sporting instincts of our 
friend resembled those of a butcher. 

African shooting is generally not to my mind much of a 
catch, and I very much agree with Professor Scott Elliot 
that, beyond the name of the thing, it usually consists, in 
actuality, in crawling to infinity on your stomach, with the 
vertical sun on the back of your neck, tearing your hands, 
and losing your pipe and your temper, until you finally 
have the satisfaction of discovering that the small herd of 
buck which you have stalked with so much trouble have, 
as a matter of fact, been all the time quite well aware of all 
your movements, and are now moving awkwardly but 
rapidly away out of shot. Indeed, all the places where I 
have had really good sport in the interior, or where anyone 
could get it, could be counted on the fingers of one hand. 

I remember, however, in the old days — that is, in 1895, 
before the Jameson raid and the Matebele war and the 
attempt to develop Rhodesia * had made a hell of the 
place — having some really splendid shooting up the 
Pungwe river, on the plains behind what was then the 
quaint little sandy port of Beira. It was the end of the dry 
season, grass was just beginning to spring up again under 
our feet on the park-like plains, which were alive with flut- 
tering, rattling, glistening clouds of brown locusts, and with 
literally thousands of game. There were herds of buffalo, 
hartebeest, and other buck in all directions, and one could 
stalk them at leisure, both at dusk and dawn, picking out 
some big buck or other and dropping him flat with a long 

In the upper part of the Mobuko Valley in the Mountains of the Moon. The forest on the ridges is composed of 

heath trees 70 — 100 feet in height. 



singing shot. We had had, as I have said, fair sport in 
the interior on this occasion, but at no time had I ever 
found any of these inland districts at all comparable to 
what the flats were about Fontesvilla and Beira several 
years ago, and I had grown accustomed to the idea that 
such places which recall the old stories of the early sports- 
men in the Cape were now no more. After emerging from 
a deep-river cutting on these plains south of the Albert 
Edward Nyanza, however, my gun-bearer dropped down 
and whispered, “Nyama, bwana, nyama!” (“ Meat, mas- 
ter, meat ! ” ). Our camp larder was empty, but the meat, 
the breakfast and the dinners and the suppers of many 
days, was standing on the level plain which opened up in 
front of us as we emerged from the river bed.- There 
were hundreds of head in sight, different kinds of antelope 
grouped together in various coloured clumps. Nearer at 
hand than the rest there was a group of big black brutes 
which I did not recognise, and I hastily crept forward to 
get a shot, an old ant-hill affording excellent cover ; after 
a short crawl I reached this, and caretully looked over on 
the other side. The buck was standing looking towards 
me and apparently about two hundred yards away. It had 
not seen or even winded us, but it had heard the caravan, 
for its horned-head and its great ears were pricked towards 
the line of march. Even now I could not make out what 
these big dark-coloured buck might be ; we could eat them, 
however. My rifle on this particular occasion actually was 
ready ; there was a big fellow standing by a tree ; the 
white ivory foresight came down into the V of back 
until it only just showed as the faintest speck against his 
dark coat, and then I pulled. The whistling split bullet 
screamed with a psh-sh-sh over the plain and buried itself 
without any other sound in the sand, a little puff of dust 

23 ® 


marking the place where it had struck some yards in front 
of the astonished buck. He was further off than he looked. 
I slid in another cartridge, put up the three hundred yards 
sight and brought the white ivory foresight again into posi- 
tion, and pulled. The psh-sh-sh of the bullet ended this 
time with a sharp plop, there was no dust spirt, and the 
buck dropped flat in his tracks. The herd started, but did 
not move until I had sent three more shots, each of which 
ended with the peculiar plop which characterises a hit, and 
there were four buck lying on the plain. “ Dropped,” as 
Fergusson remarked, “ in less than a minute out of a single 
herd,” and, as he continued, “ There was a man once who 
called another a damned butcher for the selfsame thing.” 
When people have inconvenient memories it is well some- 
times to say nothing. It is better to light a pipe and 
smoke, and look blandly at the accuser from the top of an 
ant-hill as one who is caught out flatly and unashamed. 
I occupied myself in this way while the men went forward 
to look at the slain beasts and make out what they were. 
They turned out to be two Senegal hartebeests and two 
water-buck. The old chief and his men who were acting 
as our guides were delighted at the prospect of fresh meat, 
for although antelope of many kinds literally swarm upon 
these plains, the people in some of the villages were 
actually short of food. They were, in fact, such colossal 
fools that they could not even dig a pit for the game to fall 
into. Like the people of the Kirungu districts, these 
tribes , were also characterised by their habit of eating all 
their victuals raw. Directly the buck was shot on the par- 
ticular occasion I have just described, they crowded round 
the bodies of the huge antelopes and tore off pieces of 
the flesh with their hands, cramming both it and its hairy 
integument into their mouths in masses that looked big 

The snow summit of Ingomwimbi, one of the high peaks iu the Mountains of the Moon. fSee p. 299 . ) 



enough to choke a bloodhound ; they grunted and spluttered 
over the entrails and the offal, their faces and their bodies 
covered with blood and sand, and crept about on all fours 
like weird carnivorous quadrupeds, with yards of hot entrails 
hanging from their huge mouths and their white blood- 
stained teeth. The sight made one perfectly sick, and 
although they were soon nearly choked with blood and 
raw flesh, we had actually to drive the chief and the guides 
away with sticks from the meat which we could not 
carry off. 

The day was already well on and we had evidently far 
to go. In the north, over the vast arid grey plains, which 
were steeped in the golden afternoon sunlight and filled 
with the innumerable faint .scents of this land of perennial 
summer, there rose a streak of smoke ; it was coming 
from some grass fire which the chief said was near the 
village at which we were to camp. He said, however, that 
it was late, and that he could find water at a place nearer 
at hand to which he would go. I did not see the inward- 
ness of this move at the time. It was true they were 
leaving bc;hind some of their beloved raw meat, but it did 
not occur to me that the old ruffian would deliberately plan 
our complete destruction on that account ; and .so we 
allowed him to go on to the new camping-ground which 
he had named. We were, be it remembered, in desert 
country, hot desert country. We had been without water 
since morning, and, as Burton says, after twelve hours’ 
waterless march in the desert, men are apt to die. We 
therefore moved anxiously after our guides, over low rises 
of bare sun-swept, sun-scorched, sandy ground, which was 
scantily covered with utterly withered grass and a few 
absolutely-leafless thorn-bushes, two or three feet in height. 
The golden evening was approaching, and faint, mys- 




terious shadows were beginning to form in the hollows of 
the vast plain and to throw up its undulating immensities 
into a very vivid shape. We were adrift with our hundred 
and odd thirsty ruffians, with the fiery sun of the equator 
sinking, “ robed and splendid,” over the mountainous 
border of the pigmy lands on the western horizon. In 
whatever direction we looked, the desert seemed to stretch 
for miles and miles and miles. There was no green 
patch, no dark forest in any river cutting that gave 
hope of water for the men, whose generally continuous 
obscene chants had become hushed into the silence that 
characterises physical exhaustion, and the whole caravan 
now slouched on ominously quiet, the soft tread of 
hundreds of feet over the desert, only now and then 
proclaimed by the cracking of some dried herbage on 
the ground. Plodding on thus, in the deepening yellow 
light and the intense heat of the sinking sun, was any- 
thing but pleasant. We looked anxiously for the village 
where we were to .sleep, and every now and then we 
fancied we could discern it; those. were surely huts in 
the distance grouped along a ridge, perhaps two miles 
away, but as we approached the huts resolved themselves 
into shadows, stones, and dusky patches on the ground. 
The same thing happened again and again, but still the 
desert held its own. As the exhausting heat of the march 
began to tell on us, the trains and strings of fleeting 
thoughts and fancies began to pass through my brain, 
which, I have often found on marching expeditions in the 
tropics, proclaim that it is time to stop. As I walked 
mechanically picking my way after the old chief, every sort 
of thing that is good to drink flitted before my eyes with 
the strange realness that is born of an exhausted frame. 
I saw the proverbial six brandies and sodas set up in a row ; 



I saw cool streams falling into deep clear pools in the 
shadow of great rocks. I was drinking deep draughts of 
foaming beer, and now and then I seemed to be stooping 
beside an ocean of iced champagne. The rustle of our 
feet among the desert grass wove itself with the phantoms 
of a disordered fancy, into the ripple and murmur of lakes 
and streams. And so on and so forth, I made long 
excursions through cool places and passed “ through strange 
realms of thought alone,” after which I would come back 
suddenly to the African reality, that it was sunset, that we 
were out on the dry plains, and that we were desperately 
thirsty. Our limbs felt stiff and clammy and we actually 
shivered, although the heat was fearful at the same time. 
Omari and the sergeant had pushed forward ; they were 
laughing and talking to the men, a bad sign, a sign, indeed, 
that at all costs the spirit of the banjo must be kept alive : 

“ Oh, it’s any tunc that conies into my head, 

So I keep ’em moving forward till they drop, 

So 1 play ’em up to water and to bed.” 

The sun sank at length and the short-lived glory of the 
twilight died out among the stars. “ The night rose up in 
silence,” and we were still on the plain somewhere, but at 
the same time nowhere in particular. The guides seemed 
not only to have lost their way but their heads as well, 
they said they did not know where to go ; and we in front 
halted in the deepening dusk, while Omari and a man who 
understood the language of our guides tried to make some- 
thing out of the situation, which looked awkward in the 
extreme. We were some hundreds of yards in front of the 
men, and as I sat exhaustedly on the ground, the sudden 
' evening-wind stirred the grass about our faces ; it played 
with dried leaves for a second, and then threw them down 


and rustled off into space. It was the herald of the hot 
limp night of the desert, and as it passed the plains sank 
into an unearthly hush. While I sat there, however, one of 
the Soudanese came up and whispered, “ Bwana, maji 
Karibu ! ’’ (“ Master, water is near ! ”). “ There are men 

talking in the dark on the plains, and where men talk they 
drink.” It appeared to be as he said, as we pushed quietly 
forward trying not to scare the people, whoever they might 
be ; we listened in the dark, and heard first of all our own 
pulses beat, and then after a time we could distinctly make 
out natives talking in low tones some distance ahead. 
When we reached the spot we completely surprised a small 
collection of huts, but to our astonishment found that there 
were only about five people in one of them, and to our 
dismay these people, who sat on the ground shaking with 
terror, told us that there was no water near the village ; that 
the village was indeed deserted on account of the drought, 
and that the little water they had with them they had 
brought for many miles. It was obvious that we should 
have to camp where we were, and make the best of the 
little water these people had and could spare. We gave 
them huge masses of meat in exchange for it. They 
seemed to be almost starving, having in fact come back to 
this village to dig up roots, and sat round the fires which 
we had made and ate the meat like long-limbed black 
wolves. The men were coming in with the loads, there 
was coming and going and confusion in the dark, and 
during this the sentry who was watching the old chief and 
the guides lost sight of them for a moment, and in the 
twinkling of an eye they were all gone. 

What was the meaning of the whole business ? It was 
difficult to say, but part of it soon became clear. This 
was not the village to which the chief and his followers 



had originally intended to take us, for that, they said, was 
a large and populous place, and this consisted only of a 
few partially dismantled huts. We had, however, killed 
game on the road, and they had been loth to leave it ; 
they appeared, therefore, to have first led us to a place 
where there was no water, and had kept us out till i; 
grew dark, and at an opportune moment had made a 
bolt of it, back to their beloved meat. They probably 
knew where water was to be found within a reasonable 
distance of where the buck had been killed. One thing, 
however, was quite clear ; the few men whom we had sur- 
prised in the village must be kept together at any price, 
and if necessary forced to go on with us to the nearest 
place where there was water, for the men were now 
becoming absolutely frantic with thirst, and with this end 
in view, we set about completing the camp. “ So we 
resolve on a thing and sleep, so did the lady ages ago,” 
and just as in her case, so in ours, the end was not 
at all what we anticipated. When, morning broke the 
natives, who had been guarded, said the nearest water 
was actually at the village to which we ought to have 
been led the day before, and that to reach this from where 
we were would take six hours’ marching at the least. It 
was not cheerful, and the caravan set sullenly out just as 
the baleful sun flamed up over the east once more. We 
plodded on and on, through an endless flat, dead world, 
over which the sun flared, low and yellow, and lit up the 
far-off dry ridges, a few feet above the surface of the land 
which faced us blankly. Now and then we passed a few 
dead trees utterly blasted and blackened by the grass fires 
and the fiery heat, and peppered all over with fine blown 
sand. There was not even an ant in this strange scorched 
desolation in which we found ourselves. The blue sky 



was simply arched over a grey lifeless infinity, Over which 
the summer goose danced everywhere, like David, for all 
it was worth, and the rest was vastness, silence, and 
supreme heat. After a time, however, there came a 
slight change, the flat grew less regular, and at last there 
appeared game. It cheered everyone, for the water could 
not now be very far off. One big buck was standing 
some hundreds of yards away. Fergusson, who was in 
front, took a long shot at him ; the bullet whistled over 
the plain, and the buck stumbled and stood still. Fer- 
gusson then called to me to fire, as he had no more 
ammunition ready. I drew a careful bead on his shoulder 
with the two hundred yards sight, and pulled. Again the 
bullet pished away, and again the buck stumbled, but, 
after a second, stood still once more, looking at us. I 
ran out over the plain, and on coming nearer saw that 
he was wounded and could not move. I fired again, and 
this time he dropped flat with a bullet through his head. 
When we came up .to him we found we had made some 
funny practice with our first two shots. Fergusson’s had 
passed through one of his forefeet just above the hoof, and 
mine had done the same with the other. Both shots 
had therefore been true in line, but we had under-esti- 
mated the range, and the bullets had fallen about his 
feet. We shot two more buck, a hartebeest, and a cobus 
cob, in a few minutes, leaving them where they were, to 
be fetched later when we had reached the village and the 
water, which the natives we had impressed to be our 
guides said was not now far off. After about an hour we 
came in sight of a village, a real village this time, but 
there seemed to be no smoke rising from it or life in it of 
any kind. We were on our last legs, and we moved on ever 
more anxiously as the deserted appearance of the place 



became more apparent. It took another red-hot blazing 
hour to come near enough to the place to make anything 
out, but at last we saw that it was really deserted, that 
there was not even a dog in the white dusty lanes be- 
tween the huts. Near the end of the village, which 
looked ominously like an old necropolis, there was a sort 
of a dry water cutting, in the floor of which there were a 
few green bushes, and among these the wretched men 
searched for water. There was none there, however, and 
the rest of the village, which was much further away than 
it appeared, seemed to be equally barren, until we passed 
over a second ridge and came to another dry water way, 
in one part of which there was a small stagnant pool. 
“ It was crawling and it stunk." But it was liquid ; the 
cows made for it, and the men made for it, and I thought 
they would have drunk it dry. I drank my last pint out of 
my water-bottle, which was cleaner, and then went on 
into the village to see what its ijeculiarly uninhabited 
appearance might mean ; and as I went, it soon became 
apparent that the desertion could only have taken place 
quite recently, during our approach, in fact ; the cooking 
pots were still in their places in the huts, while the 
remains of extinguished fires still smouldered. Moreover, 
there were a few fowls running about, which our men 
eagerly pursued, and, what was better still, Aden found, 
carefully hidden away under the floor of a hut, some six- 
teen large eggs. It is indeed in Africa, as I have before 
had occasion to remark, a particularly ill wind which blows 
nobody good, and by using these things which the natives 
had kindly left us, and by appropriating the chief’s hut, 
which stood conveniently large and cool and open, we 
succeeded in making ourselves very comfortable indeed in 
the deserted place. It was a singularly charming village. 



The ground between the huts was white and clean, the 
huts were also large and clean, and they were covered 
with the most picturesque green pumpkin plants and 
beautiful convolvuli. From the place there was, more- 
over, now that we could divest our minds of the hideous 
attributes of the de.sert plains, a most superb view over 
their level wastes of brown and yellow sand. In the far 
distance to the south there rose the gigantic peaks of the 
volcanoes, now mere blue shadows, a little bluer than the 
blue of the sky. East and west beyond the plains rose 
the walls of the great valley, very high and very far away, 
looking not unlike the hills which appear to the south, 
from Berberer. As we luxuriated in the deep cool shadow 
of the great hut, we became aware of one or two natives 
moving carefully about the plain to the west ; and after a 
time It became obvious what they were about, for, although 
they would have nothing to do with us, and fled at our 
approach, they were by no means indisposed to profit by 
the white man’s advent in another way. They were, in 
fact, making off as fast as they possibly could to where we 
had left the buck we had shot in the morning, in the 
hope of being able to steal the meat. It soon became 
apparent that behind the few stealthily-moving figures 
which we had first seen there were many others, and that 
if we wanted any meat at all for ourselves we must be 
quick. A number of men set off, therefore, towards the 
carcases, and arrived in time to prevent the natives 
getting .there at all. The men and ourselves and the 
animals were all very much done up, and we decided to 
stop where we were in this village on the plain for two 
more days, during which time we had some superb 
shooting close at hand, and finally got into communica- 
tion with a few of the natives of the district, although the 



chief and the elders and the bulk of the population kept 
themselves rigidly out of sight. With some of these men 
who had now returned to their huts we arranged to pro- 
ceed to another village which lay further on in the direc- 
tion of the south shore of the Albert Edward Nyanza, and 
this important matter being settled, the situation in general 
gave us much food for reflection. W^e were, as Fergusson 
expressed it, now well out at the back of beyond, remote 
from any white camp or station, and in a portion of the 
country which had never been traversed by any European 
before. The district was almost a complete desert, the 
people were unfriendly and hopelessly stupid, there was 
little food, and our route lay away to the north over what 
appeared to be similar country, extending northwards until 
it terminated in the great swamps we had heard of as 
bordering the south shores of the Albert Edward Nyanza. 
We speculated on these matters as we sat smoking on the 
evening of the second day, while the level yellow sunlight 
lit uji the beautiful blossoms and leaves which straggled over 
the huts, and then .‘:hot horizontally away over the vast 
plain with its wave-like undulations and abrupt dry river 
courses. Our men had had a terrible time, but they were 
now singing and laughing as they brought up the dirty 
water from the puddle which supplied the place. For 
these children of the hour, the past was as much past as 
if it had never been ; their thirst and their weariness, their 
sore feet, and the long torturing marches which we had 
made, were past, and were forgotten in the temporary 
plenty of the oasis round the camp. They were singing 
as I have said, and among their many songs I recognised 
one which I had heard on the Tanganyika plateau, at 
Abercorn,. in the old days when my friend Marshall was 
in command there. At that time the village maidens were 



bringing the water from the stream, and as they passed the 
thatched verandah of our hut each was crooning to herself 
a pretty plaintive song, which does not lend itself to an 
English translation, but the refrain may be paraphrased in 
Latin thus : 

Fac ipse periclum in se, quod rite matronas juvat. 

Africa is still very much in one of the poet’s cycles of 
Cathay, and even a twenty-five years’ bringing up in civil- 
ization renders one almost unfit to comprehend, or at any 
rate appreciate, the mental fantasies of these children of the 
waste. For example, iTiuch as I have tried, I was never 
able to enter into the humour of the performances of 
our boatmen on Lake Kivu. These men, it will be re- 
membered, fed on raw beans until they swelled out so 
much that their gradually distending persons used to 
squeeze the ticks and the lice out of the narrow bands of 
fur which they tied at daybreak round their middles. As 
they pulled over thj; lake, our Swahili boys would sing 
some meandering obscenity or other,* and then these bean- 
fed scarecrows would take up the refrain, not in the ordinary 
manner, however, sed cum oribus alter is. Very unpleasant 
ideas and customs indeed, best shrouded in a veil of ex- 
tinct speech. How these simple human beings would 
shock our dear old ladies at home, both male and female ! 
Yet these mere savages were very fond of their own 
children and very mindful of the duties they owed to 
their own families. They were not half so vicious in 
intention ; they were, in fact, far better endowed with 
every admirable human attribute than many of our old 
maids at home, our pro- Boers, and pro-Boxers, and that 
large section of our modern communities which has been 
described as “ the energetically ignorant.” 



I very much doubt if, judged by the Christian ethics for 
example, the average European could give these people a 
single point. Their iniquities, and they have many of 
them, surprise us only because we are new to them, and 
I have a strong impression that the ordinary iniquities of 
a European town would give them a similar shock. So 
we go to the African interior, and when we come back we 
look with other eyes, and hence the extraordinary cultural 
value which this sort of travel appears to me to possess. 

Looked at from any outside standpoint, what a very odd 
spectacle the world is. It is indeed hardly to be wondered 
at that the Deuce was said of old to be given to wandering 
up and down in it, or that its real spirit should have been 
expressed by at least one great poet when he wrote among 
the shadows and the dead ; 

“ Wc thank with brief thanksgiving 
Whatever gods there be 
That no life lives for ever, 

That dead men np never, 

That even the weariest river 
Wintls somewhere safe to sea.” 



“ Come on, you lhick-lipp*d slave, Til bear you hence ! 

For it is you that puts us to our shifts.” 

—Titus Andronicus. 

From this village on the plain we marched — where did 
we not march ? Through thick bush, over low rises into 
deep water cuttings, and over great flat, park-like expanses 
of land, where game abounded and where we stalked till 
our tongues hung out of our mouths with heat and ex- 
haustion. The caravan, however, was happy, for we had 
meat — red, raw flesh, covered with blood, such as the 
heart of a native loves, torn off the animals just after 
they had been shot, with their muscles still quivering and 
the pulsations of their hearts not yet stopped. We had 
old meat and young meat, grilled meat and fried meat, 
minced meat and chopped meat, and meat that had been 
cut into strips and dried in the sun. The men were dis- 
tended so that they could hardly march, but they were 
fed and delighted, and coated with dirt and with blood. 
They were laughing and yelling in a fiery land, where 
there was enough water to drink, and, above all things, 

There were, it is true, numbers of men who were be- 
coming ill through over-gorging on animal food, but there 
were none, I believe, who would not cheerfully have died, 
so that they could fill themselves with meat until they 

The northern snow rid^re of Ingomwimbi from a point about 12,500 feet. 



were dead. However, Fergusson and I, and Omari and 
one or two of the men, were intent on getting somewhere 
where there were vegetables, even if it was mere green 
grass. We were becoming afflicted with the passion which 
seems to have seized Nebuchadnezzar when he is said to 
have browsed like the cattle of the field ; and with this 
object in view we were heading with our guides to a 
village which lay before us, so they said, only a short 
distance, and which was itself only one day’s march from 
the famous Vichumbi, on the Ruchuru river, at the ex- 
treme south end of the Albert Edward Nyanza. When 
we approached this place it was about noon, and Fergusson 
pushed on with one or two of the men to get into com- 
munication with the villagers, if possible, it bc;ing thought 
advisable that I should not display the arbitrary charac- 
teristics with which I am accredited, at any rate too soon. 
1 must confess that I hate jumpy animals, anything of the 
nature of women or horses, that you have to stroke and 
pat, and go through oth(;r idiotic performances, before you 
can get them to understand that you are not of necessity 
a grampus. 

When 1 approached the village I found that Fergusson 
had actually got into touch with the natives. He was 
sitting under the shade of a tree with the chief, and around 
them were a number of elders, with long black visages of 
varying ferocity. The chief was himself a dangerous-look- 
ing animal, with white grizzly hair and bold protruding 
blood-shot eyes. He wore a coarse leather apron behind, 
and nothing else ; he was fat and hideous and flabby. I 
told Omari not to let the men go near the village, but 
to pitch the camp a little distance away on some open 
ground, for the natives were evidently disturbed. All the 
rest of tbe people were, as a matter of fact, inside the 




village with their spears and bows and arrows, and the 
great tree, which usually blocks up the door in an African 
town in time of war, was placed in position, facing us. To 
arrive at something satisfactory, we smiled sweetly and 
gave the chief a large present of cloth and beads, although 
I personally felt inclined to say, “ Oh, great beast ! here 
is something for you to take, and which may possibly 
tempt you into those ordinary civilities which you don’t 
possess.” But although we smiled, as I have said, he did 
not take the present pleasantly. He, in fact, threw it on 
the ground and spat on it, saying it was not big enough 
for him, for he was a very big chief indeed. He said 
further that he must interview his big brother, who lived 
a few miles off, and if his big brother consented he would 
allow his people to sell us grain and milk and other 
things. Hour after hour passed, however, and we got 
nothing ; the people were most anxious to sell us grain, 
etc., but the chief would not allow them. It was utterly 
exasperating and hopeless, so we decided to give up the 
patting method and try other mcaps, I interviewed the 
chief, and had him informed that he was a pig and a 
beast ; that he might be a very big chief, but that I was 
a bigger, that I could give him points in chiefishness any 
day and have plenty left. I reminded him of an African 
custom, namely, that when a caravan of strangers comes 
into a district, as we had done, the people living there 
send out emissaries to exchange presents and escort the 
leaders to the resident chief. I asked him why he had not 
done this in our case, and whether he was not aware of 
the fact that the omission of these civilities meant that he 
regarded our approach as an act of war. These remarks 
evidently produced some impression upon the elders, who 
parleyed anxiously with their leader, but the chief re- 


mained obstinate. He knew, he said, that strangers were 
generally treated in the way I had named, but that he had 
not known of our approach. We laughed, however, and 
pointed to the barricaded village, and asked him whether 
in Africa any white men ever moved anywhere without 
the native people knowing everything about it. To this 
he replied in a mist of words, and said that, although he 
was a very big chief, he was not as big as his brother, 
and that he must consult him. Independent inquiry had 
shown that the brother did not e.xist, that this man himself 
was the great lord of the place, and we again returned to 
him and said that he was a man of evil words, which 
meant nothing and were intended to entrap, that he was 
worse than a pig, that ht; was a mere louse ui)on the face 
of the earth ; that his men were willing to sell us grain, 
and that we had meat in any quantity, such as his heart 
loved, and that he must allow his ])eople to sell us grain. 
He still, however, flatly refused. There was nothing much 
to be done, but we had a hundred and odd men with us 
who were without prQ{oer food. Grain and other vegetable 
■Stuff abounded in the village, the people were only too 
willing to sell it for the cloth, the beads, the tin whistles, 
and the penny rattles which delight a native heart ; but 
their chief was a fat, flabby beast, with a besotted face 
and bold, protruding blood-shot eyes, who would do 
nothing but assert his own independence of everybody 
and everything. We therefore informed him that he 
could do as he pleased, he could refuse to let the people 
sell us grain, etc., but in that event he would have to re- 
main where he was till he changed his mind. He stormed 
and blasphemed, he swore that this, that, and the other 
would happen, etc., etc. ; but he remained sitting on the 
hot, stubbly ground ; he remained sitting there until the 

1 6* 


camp was pitched and the blue smoke of our fires rose 
abundantly among the tents. He remained there till the 
west grew yellow and the day died out, and the evening 
wind .stirred and rustled among the dried bushes and the 
great euphorbias. He was still sitting late into the night 
when the camp was all asleep, e.Kcept the silent sentries, 
armed and vigilant, who stole stealthily about from point 
to point. About midnight I woke up. It was clear and 
chilly ; the fires burnt brightly on the ground, and I went 
out to see how our old ruffian fared. He was seated 
beside a huge Soudanese soldier, smoking a long pipe, 
and between long puffs he was talking to the guard, 
but as the guard did not understand a word he said, 
they merely smiled, smoking their own pipes, watching 
him. I asked him if he liked sitting out thus by him- 
self. Whereupon he observed that it was very cold, 
and then he rubbed his leg, in which I observed there 
was a great spear wound, not quite healed, and which 
he said a neighboui;ing chief had given him in a recent 
fight. In the intervals of smoking, he covered the 
open remains of this wound with hot ashes from the 
fire. I got some antiseptics and lint and fixed up his leg 
for him. He took everything he could get from us with 
avidity, but when I suggested that he should now tell his 
men to sell us what we wanted, he merely spat and said 
that he would not, and that he would sit on for ever rather, 
and that we could do as we pleased. I had him informed 
then that we should start exactly at four a.m., and that 
unless he allowed his men to sell us food, I should take 
him with us as our guide and make him carry a load like 
a common porter. To which he replied that I might do 
as I pleased. It was really very funny, and I sat up in 
bed that night, as I have often done in Central Africa, 

View of the small g^lacier between the northern snow ridge of Ingomwimbi and Kanyangogwi from the former, at a 

height of 13,600 feet. 



and literally shook with laughter at what had happened 
during the day. 

When it was time to strike camp, it was still deep night 
and very cold ; we gathered round the bright fires in the 
clear tropical starlight, making a hasty breakfast of cocoa 
and fowls, and then the men fell in, the loads were 
shouldered, and we were off. But behind the great 
Soudanese soldier who led the way, there walked the 
chief, with a light load on his head, blaspheming like a 

The march was long and heavy. The sun rose over 
a vast park-like country, covered with clumps of trees, 
with euphorbias and acacias, and with yellow sun-scorched 
grass. There were quantities of game everywhere, but 
we hurried on, and about noon came to the great 
Ruchuru itself, a mighty stream of muddy yellow water, 
as wide as the Thames at Westminster, and whirling in 
eddies and rapids away to the north. The men went 
cautiously into it, sinking up to their necks ; the cows 
went next, and then the goats and the sheep were driven 
and bundled neck and crop into the water. We followed 
ourselves ; the goats were no use whatever in the water, 
and in a few seconds there was a confused mass of men 
and animals floundering out in heaps upon the opposite 
bank. The water was deliciously cool, it was up to my 
neck, and there was such a strong current, that I had to 
steady myself with a pole, although we were slanting across 
down stream. After a few minutes we emerged on the 
other side drenched from head to foot, beneath a tall bank of 
slippery, sun-steeped mud. I took off all my clothes, fixed 
up an umbrella on a stick in the ground and stood up in 
the wind to dry. Fergusson did the same, and while we 
were thus pleasantly occupied, Omari came up and said 


that the recalcitrant chief absolutely refused to cross the 
river at any price. I told him to go back and take a 
rope, and that he and the guard were to haul the old 
brute over, neck and crop. In a few moments I heard 
roans of laughter from the river bank, and on going, all 
naked as I was except for a pith helmet, I saw what 
looked like an infuriated hippopotamus on the end of a 
line. It was, as a matter of fact, the chief who was being 
towed across the stream. Our own men were absolutely 
wild with delight, and even the chief’s elders, now that 
they saw that their master’s attention was otherwise en- 
gaged, laughe.d loud and long. When the chief came to 
land he was rather full of water, and ho rolled about and 
blasphemed worse than ever, and as we saw no use in 
taking him any further, we turned him loose to find his 
own way back across the stream to his own village. His 
head-men, however, voluntarily accompanied us, and said 
that we should reach Vichumbi that night. We made a 
second long march through herds of game which sur- 
rounded us in all directions, and w«rc so tame that we 
could walk right amongst them and look at them. Finally, 
away to the north, wc discerned open water over an end- 
less yellow i)lain of grass, and on the further edge of a 
dark-green belt of reeds there showed up at last a village. 
We moved steadily across the plain, but long before we 
got to this place there was evidently a great commotion 
going on in the town ; men could be seen hurrying in all 
directions, and as wc drew nearer we could hear a confused 
shouting proceeding from hundreds of excited people. 
We had, in fact, surprised the place, and the long dusty 
trail of a big caravan approaching over the plain had 
frightened them into a fit. They were tearing wildly to 
and fro, like an excited swarm of bees, and clambering 



into boats, which they pushed across to some islands near 
the swampy shore of the lake. Fergusson and 1 hurried on 
by ourselves, but before we had got into the village there 
was not a man in the place, but there were crowds of 
natives, men, women, and children, regarding us from the 
supposed safety of their island suburbs, and we had, with 
the help of the friendly elders of the last village, to resort 
to a prolonged shouting across the creeks. After a long 
time a good-looking native, with a bald bullet head and 
a necklace of white ivory, and who was evidently .someone 
of importance, got into a .small boat and pushed across. 
When he drew near we .saw that the boat was not like 
those on Kivu or Tanganyika, or in any of the great 
lakes we had yet .seen, but was a deep punt with a sejuare 
end and a Hat bottom, made out of thin strips of wood, 
which were sewn together at the joints with laces made 
out of bark. When the ambassador arrived we gave him 
a present of bright-coloured cloth, which Omari placed 
over his shoulders, and after strutting about for some time 
like a peacock, to 6he huge delight of the ladies on the 
opposite bank, he returned to the island suburbs, and told 
his people that we were all right. In an instant clouds 
of boats put off from the islantls, and after a few minutes 
there were hundreds of friendly natives in our own camp. 
They were a good-looking race, esjjecially the women, who 
wore nothing but very short ballet-dancers’ skirts, made 
out of banana leaves, and tight armlets made of brass 
wire, and the long black ebony-like hairs out of elephants’ 
tails. They had large luminous eyes, and smoked short 
terra-cotta pipes, wrong side up, like the fishwives in an 
English fishing village ; but they were much better- 
looking than any English fishwives that one usually 
sees, except in pictures. They were simply a fishing 

2s8 to the mountains of the moon. 

people, and entirely different from the wretched hordes 
we had encountered upon the plains further south. They 
brought us loads of grain and fish, chiefly a great chromid, 
which they sold for cloth or beads or anything that they 
had not. After a time the real chief presented himself ; 
he was a big, not bad-looking man, with a loud voice and 
a big jovial laugh. 

This then, was Vichumbi, and the great estuary on 
which it stands was the mouth of the Ruchuru, where it 
opens into the Albert Edward itself. We were at last 
among a friendly people ; the strain and tension of the 
last few months was at any rate for a time over, and we 
could mature our future plans in peace. Later, during 
the .same day, we held a consultation with the chief of the 
village about our future movements. We had not then 
finally decided whether to take the east or the west side 
of the lake, but there were several reasons for adopting 
the latter. He said, moreover, that if we would wait 
where we were for a few days and shoot him some meat, 
of which he was very fond, he would *provide us with ten 
large punts, each capable of carrying twenty men as well 
as some loads, and that then with these we could proceed 
up the lake. None of these people seemed to know where 
Uganda was, or where there was any white man. They 
had heard of white men to the west, that was in the 
Congo Free State, and that was all they appeared to know. 

Next morning I woke shortly before dawn and got into 
my bath, which my boy had filled with deep cool water, 
the first water which I had seen from the Albert Edward 
Nyanza ; and after dressing I went out while it was still 
starlight and cool, to get down, if I could, to the actual 
shores of the lake. The grass was wet with dew as I 
brushed through it to the north, and every now and then 



a rat, or some other small mammal, would rustle across 
the path as if it had been shot from one side to the other. 
There were a few natives already up and about, moving 
slowly, bent and chilly, among the blue smoke wreaths 
which hung among the huts. They looked up as I 

The broad glacier on the Northern snow ridge of Ingomwimbi. 

passed along to the lake, but were far too cold and frozen, 
like autumn flies, to pay any attention to me for long. 
Really, the temperature was exactly 73®. After a short 
walk I came to a reed belt, and through this led some 
native paths, which were evidently used by fishermen. 
Following these I finally came out beyond the reed belt, 
on to the shores of the lake itself. It was sandy, and 

26 o 


flanked to the west by a long sage-green wall of reeds. 
The sun was just about to rise, and looking to the north 
one saw that the lake spread away to a sea horizon, while 
to the east it died out among absolutely flat reed-covered 
sandspits. The water, which was perfectly calm and grey, 
spread itself along the hills which form the western wall 
of the great valley of the lakes, and in it their inverted 
image's were exactly repeated for some thirty miles 

On the beach there were a number of shells, but 
nothing among them at all comparable to the marine 
forms which we had encountered on Tanganyika. These 
shells were identical in kind, and almost identical in their 
specific representation, with those of Lake Kivu. There 
were hundreds of Melania Tuberculata, Vivipera, and 
Planorbis ; but there was one addition in the shape of a 
very I’lanorboid-looking shell, but which, when examined, 
was found to be much more solid and heavy than any 
other Planorbis that is known. It subsequently turned 
out not to be a Planorbis at all, but an entirely new form, 
to which I have given the generic iwid specific names of 
Planorbia Albcrtensis. In these few minutes I became, 
as a matter of fact, ejuite sure that we should find nothing 
abnormal or marine in the Albert Edward Nyanza, and 
although such a conclusion may appear to have been 
drawn hastily, it proved eventually, as a result of our 
three weeks’ journey on the lake, that the impression was 
quite correct. It is as true among shells as among other 
things, that “ first impressions are generally the best ” ; 
in fact, this old saying is one of the very few of a like 
kind which I have ever found by experience to have the 
slightest foundation. After the performance of this pre- 
liminary canter on the shores of the lake, I returned to 
the camp, and although the sun was only a few degrees 



above the horizon, his rays were already terribly fierce, 
and it was evident that we were once more in a very hot 
country indeed. 

Here, as usual, it took longer to work the native oracle 
with respect to the canoes than we expected. The native 
mind moves .slowly, he is never in a hurry, and when one 
comes to think of it, there were many reasons why he 
should not be anxious to bestir himself ; for we were 
shooting him abundance of his beloved meat every day. 
Finally, however, the chief produced his boats, and after 
a great noise, which began at daybreak and lasted till 
noon, with “ a great shout and a cry within ’’ the village, 
we got the loads .safely stowed and were off. It was 
found, however, that it would be impo.s.sil)le to transport 
the whole expedition in the boats, and so we hatl again to 
arrange with Omari that he and the cows and a number 
of the men with the loads should go round by land. 



“ I shook him well from side to side until his face was blue, 

‘ Come, tell me how you li\e,’ I cried, ‘and what it is you do.’ 
lie said, ‘ I hunt for haddocks’ eyes, among the heather bright, 

And work them into waistcoat buttons in the silent night.’ ” 

— Lewis Carrol. 

As we put out over the open water of the Albert Edward 
we could see the great ranges of the west coast gradually 
opening up ridge behind ridge and cape beyond cape, 
as far as the eye could see, and as we punted along it soon 
became obvious that we should run completely out of the 
swamp belts of the southern shores, and that we should 
once more be travelling along one of those steep precipitous 
coast-lines which almost invariably characterise the coasts 
of the grctit Central African trough. Near at hand, upon 
the open opaque waters of the lake, there were many 
pelicans, some idly floating, some solemnly regarding us, 
and now and then we passed a large fish, not dead, 
but which was struggling aimlessly, and lying on the 
surface of the water. The natives constantly speared 
these fish, and when they were brought into the boat 
we noticed that they had invariably lost, quite recently, 
either one or both of their eyes. Enquiry among our 
native boatmen elicited the reply that it was the 
pelicans that did this, or at any rate some fishing bird, 
which preferred the eyes to any other part of the fish, 


and, having abstracted one or both, were in the habit 
of throwing their hapless and helpless prey on one side. 
Later on during the same day we saw any number of these 
maimed fishes, and what was more, any number of natives, 
some in boats, some balanced on floating logs, waiting, 
spear in hand, for a mutilated fish to pass. About noon 
we reached a village u[)on the west shore of the lake, and 
from this place rather to our surprise we found a path, 
broader and better than those which natives usually make, 
and at the end of this road there was a clear space and a 
flagstaff and a bungalow ; it was, in fact, a station which had 
been built at some time and had been abandoned by the 
Congo troops. We pitched our camp here, and the chief 
who had led us to it told me, in reply to further enquiries 
which I made concerning the strange fishing operations 
which I had seen in the morning, that the fish which 
we had observed was the only one that inhabited that 
part of the lake ; and further, that the natives used no 
nets or hooks or traps, and that for their fish they trusted 
exclusively to those which had aH-eady had their eyes 
abstracted by birds. I did not believe half that he said 
at the time, but during our subsequent stay upon the lake 
I never saw any other fish in this part of it, nor did we see 
the people catching fish in any other way, nor were there 
any bones or remains of other fish to be found lying 
about. Further north on the same lake, and particularly 
near the Semliki source, there are, of course, abundant 
Protopterus, and the natives made a regular business of 
trapping these remarkable fish, which often attained a 
length of eight feet, in runs and trapped lagoons. In the 
same way there are also no crocodiles or hippopotami, either 
in the Ruchuru or in the Albert Edward Lake, at the south, 
although they appear at the north end of the lake, and are 


abundant in the Semliki river and in the Albert Nyanza 

The many days which we spent upon the Albert Edward 
were a repetition of this first. We rose at dawn, had 
breakfast, and then got into the boats, in which we rolled 
and sweltered till noon, when we found some place under the 
frowning hills of the western shore to land and have lunch ; 
then we again got into the boats, and sweltered and rolled 
till it was lime to camp and we could find a place on which 
to pitch the tents. Sometimes the scenery was strangely 
beautiful, but it was always steamy and intensely hot. We 
would pass rocky .shores, crowned with dark forest and 
bushes, and on the blazing rocks there were often most 
gorgeous coloured chameleons, who watched us intently as 
we approached, turning slowly every colour under the sun, 
until they went idack with rage as we passed close by. We 
made slow progress, and it was many days before we came 
to the north-west angle of the lake. At this place we found 
a detachment of native; Congo troops, and we saw that the 
great western wall of the valley, in which we had been 
travelling for so many months, was now standing and 
striding away from the northern shore of the lake, and 
pursuing its course still unmoved towards the north. 
Looking to the east, we could see endless storm-clouds, 
and endless low sweltering coast-lines stretching away in 
that direction to infinity through dancing summer goose. 
Behind these again there were hills of moderate dimensions, 
but where in the world was Ruwenzori ? We ought, 
according to our maps, to have been within thirty miles of 
the great white peaks of this range, and we had anticipated 
that they would now have stood up before us like the long 
white fringe of the Alps, as seen from the plains north of 
T urin. They were, however, nowhere to be seen. 


On returning from the Belgian outpost, which was 
perhaps a thousand yards from the shore, I thought, 
however, that through a rent in the storm-clouds to the 
north, I saw dimly and for an instant the silent impressive 
form of a great white peak, but I was not sure. Next 

A nearer view of the men sitting on the ice. 

day brought no change ; the sky was blue and clear, but 
as we again proceeded to punt and to perspire along the 
fringe of swamps that border the northern shore of the lake, 
we could see nothing away to the north except a few low 
hills, perhaps twelve miles away. Eventually during the 
day we passed a promontory of low reed-covered swampy 




ground, on which there were hundreds of white pelicans, 
standing in all attitudes, and blowing out the bladdery ex- 
pansion of their throats like balloons. The land hereabout 
opened back into a great V to the north, and over this 
extension of the lake the lollopping waves seemed to race 
in an unnatural manner as if they were spurred on from 
underneath. Such was indeed the case ; the V was the 
opening of the outlet of the great lake, and the unnatural 
waves were produced by the outflow of the Semliki at its 
source. Beyond this great effluent the coast again closed in 
to the north as a profound .swamp — a swamp indeed in which 
all the attributes that go to the making up of a tropical 
morass appeared to have become accentuated. There were 
low beaches of yellow sand, over which the .surf broke in 
endless lines of foam, and beyond these, reeds and trees, 
trees standing in clumps, trees fallen this way and that, 
and trees half submerged in still pools of gleaming water, 
which stretched away among their rotting stems. There 
were tree.s that had been swamped out and died where 
they stood by hundreds, with all their limbs rotted off in 
the damjj heat, that filled the whole place with an 
overpowering sense of depression, and with the faint rotting 
stench of an equatorial swamj). These marshes seemed 
utterly deserted, except by crowds of birds, of pelicans, 
and water-fowl, and the eternal fish eagle, with its wild 
melancholy voice. 

After travelling in this way for two days, through 
endless .sheets of water and morass, where it was often 
impossible to tell where the swamp ended and the lake 
began, the coast once more bent to the south, and we 
were, so the natives said, now within one day’s journey 
of Fort George, an old station formed some years 
before by General Lugard, and at noon we pulled up for 


lunch. Fergusson, however, said he would not have 
any, he was shaking from head to foot, and although 
the sun was blazing above the hot beach and the 
warm water of the lake, and the temperature of the 
air was probably about 100®, he continued to shiver 
with cold, although we wrapped him up in three blankets 
and a shawl. We decided that it would be better to go 
on, for the place where we were, from a sanitary point of 
view, was atrocious. When we put out, however, we 
found that the wind had risen, and as we went along it 
still rose ; the waves had become great slapping seas, 
through which the afternoon sun shone brilliantly green 
as they raced towards the shore. We had great difficulty 
in getting round several points, and finally, in an ex- 
posed horse-shoe bay, one of the smaller boats suddenly 
capsized. We could see the men in the water, some 
swimming, some standing up to their necks and jumping 
like the bathers on an English beach, every time a wave 
came. We were obliged to put in <^0 shore and wait till 
the boat had been righted and all the loads it contained 
were safe ; and all this time Fergusson had to sit upon the 
sand of the dismal stinking swamp, shaking from head to 
foot, and trying to squeeze himself up among the reeds, out 
of the way of the spray, which was being driven over the 
beach by a roaring wind. I tried to force a way through 
the reeds and mimosa bushes which fringed the shores, but 
they were endless and impenetrable, while in every direc- 
tion deep muddy reaches of stinking water, surrounded by 
shaking muddy quicksands, opened up landward only a 
few feet beyond the actual lake. We were therefore 
obliged to push on as soon as the unfortunate boat and 
the swamped loads had been .secured, and were rolled and 
battered about for two more hours, before we took a sharp 




bend to the north. The strong south wind had now com- 
pletely died away, but a wild storm of black clouds came 
sweeping over the plains from the opposite direction, which 
we could see sloping very gradually away from the shore 
to the north ; another wind came also before it in that 
direction and raised clouds of sand and dust, off the inland 
steppes. Vivid lightning and thunder followed, and then 
a splashing deluge of rain which lasted till nearly sunset, 
when we found ourselves suddenly, as if it had been 
through the result of some conjuring trick, in a land- 
locked bay punting over deep still water, in which the 
great sun-struck storm-clouds and the opposite coast 
were reflected, and absolutely at rest. On the other side 
of this strange land-locked bay and perched on a bare 
yellow ridge facing us stood the long-sought fort, and as 
the sun set we landed on a beach, beneath a ridge of 
arid ground that turned out to be about two hundred feet 
in height. When we landed Fergusson could hardly stand, 
and 1 hurried up towards the fort, as I had already seen 
that there were some black troops ifi uniform coming to 
meet us from above. They turned out to be a small de- 
tachment of the Uganda Rifles in charge of a huge 
Soudanese sergeant, who asked me curiously who I was, 
and where we had come from. I sent these men down to 
the boat with Aden, so that they could carry Fergusson 
up to the fort, and went on myself to see where we could 
camp or sleep. The troopers informed me that the tents 
had better not be pitched, as the wind blew every night 
with great force, and they said that there was plenty of 
room for us to sleep inside the buildings of the fort. 

From the top of the ridge I got a view of the surround- 
ing country, and I found that we had arrived in the most 
extraordinary-looking place which I had ever seen. The 



fort is built upon a narrow neck of land, which stretches 
between the Albert Edward on one side and a strange 
still basin of dark red water on the other. The ground 
upon the ridge and upon the coasts of this weird red lake 
was dry and desert-like, and composed of some queer light 
yellow and stratified material ; and beyond, the whole 
landscape to the north was utterly barren and yellow as 

111 a Papyrus swamp. 

far as the eye could see. On the coast ot the Albert 
Edward itself, and at a few places inland, there were dark 
green patches of euphorbia trees, but beyond these the 
whole landscape inland was composed of a succession of 
yellow crumbling ridges, flats, and plains, and was 
absolutely desert. 

When I returned to Fergusson I found that he was very 
ill, his temperature being 105®, and he was obviously in for 


another bout of fever, and this made me doubly anxious 
to get into communication with the nearest out-post, or the 
nearest white resident of the Uganda Protectorate. The 
troops informed me that Captiiin Meldon, who was in com- 
mand at Toro, was at this particular time shooting only 
some fourteen miles away to the north ; they said however 
he was returning on the five days' march to Toro next day 
at daybreak. I therefore decided to go that night and ascer- 
tain what could .be done. The great Soudanese sergeant 
was very unwilling that I should set out in the dark ; he 
said the road was very bad, that it was full of holes and 
elephants, and that if we did not break our own necks, the 
elephants would certainly do it for us. 1 was determined 
to go, however, and four of the garrison briskly shouldered 
their arms and accompanied our men as guides. We 
passed out of the gates of the fort, and then descended 
over very rough ground, and eventually over the plains 
which extend to the north. The dark shut all up from 
view, and we plodded on hour after hour, through sandy 
patches of dry rustling grass, and l^eneath strange dark 
ridges and hillocks, that every now and then rose over us 
among the stars. The night was red-hot, absolutely still, 
and almost absolutely dark. Two or three times some big 
thing rustUxl up in the dry grass, and then crashed away 
from the line of march, and after two or three hours we 
passed a great white gleaming sheet that stretched below us, 
and which I had naturally thought was water, but the sol- 
diers said it was only salt. After this the great plains i^ain 
shut us in for two or three hours in absolute gloom. The 
path went this way and that, and I became fearfully sleepy, 
so sleepy, indeed, that I actually fell asleep while I walked, 
and fell flat upon my face time after time. In the end, 
water, real water, did actually appear, and we finally crept 


and crawled round the basin of a lake which was about a 
mile across. On the other side of this basin we came at 
last in sight of fires, and walked suddenly into a European 
camp. The owner woke up at the sentry’s challenge, and 
I heard an English voice, and hailed him from without. 
He lit a candle, and we looked at each other, and I ex- 
plained whence I had come, and on what I was bent. 
It was the “ skrike of dawn” on the 15th March, 1900, 
and I asked him if he had heard any news from Europe 
since the autumn of 1899. It was only then, and in this 
odd place and at this odd time, that I first heard of the 
outbreak of the great war in the same continent away to 
the .south. 

Papyrus heads. 



“ Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will 
not his foolishness depart from him.*’ — Proverbs. 

When the sun rose and my tent was pitched, and I had 
heard all the news that could be crammed into our strange 
talk in the early morning dusk, I stepped out into my new 
surroundings. We were in a great plain, over which to 
the east lay the gleaming waters of Lake Ruisamba, 
which is a huge northern extension of the Albert Edward 
Nyanza. Upon the west the plain was bounded by a long 
range of hills, or rather mountains, for it soon became 
apparent as I looked at them that these dry ridges that 
rose one behind another about ten miles away reached a 
height of eight or ten thousand feet. They were, in fact, 
the outer barrier of the great Ruwenzori range itself, and 
the still invisible snow-peaks of these Mountains of the 
Moon lay. Captain Meldon told me, immediately behind 
them, and were visible at one or two points on the route 
to Fort Jerry, through gaps in the outer ramparts of the 
range. I heard from him that no one had learned any 
more about these mysterious mountains recently, or indeed 
since Mr. Scott Elliot had visited them in 1895. Mr. 
Bagge, the civil officer at Toro, had indeed made an ex- 
cursion recently up the Nyamwamba Valley, but had 
turned back at the bamboo zone. He would, however, 
be probably able to give me some valuable information 



about the routes by which it was easiest to approach the 

I slept most of the day, and next morning returned to 
Fergusson at Fort George. He had recovered during the 
day I had been away, iDUt on the morning of my return 

A native path on the way to the Albert Nyanza. 

the fever also returned with great force, and in the after- 
noon he became very ill indeed, his temperature having 
reached io6‘5‘'. With a temperature of this sort gentle 
methods are absurd, and we immediately proceeded to 
sponge him with the coldest water we could get. The 
doors' and windows of the room which we occupied in the 
fort were wide open, and a strong fresh breeze was blow- 


ing, and in this we literally as it were set him aside to 
cool. Towards evening his temperature was coming down, 
and he finally, to my immense relief, broke into the pro- 
fuse perspiration which always marks the departure of this 
wretched African disease. 

Now that I had actually located the Ruwenzori ridges, 
they could be traced from where we were at Fort George 
as a succession of long spurs and slopes, which began at 
or near the shores of the Albert Edward itself, and then 
gradually rose one behind another, until the higher and 
more remote portions to the north were shut out from view 
by the nearer rising ground. 

In two more days Fergusson had sufficiently recovered 
to be moved in a hammock slung on a pole, and we set 
out slowly in the direction of Fort Jerry. The strange 
desert-like plains which characterise the districts of Catwe 
and Fort George are entirely composed of volcanic ash 
and volcanic debris of different sorts. The curious red 
salt lake and numerous other circular depressions like it, 
which are scattered all over the plains, sometimes filled 
with water, .sometimes floored with sheets of salt and 
mud, are merely so many volcanic craters. This kind of 
country extends from the .south-west of the Ruwenzori 
ranges all round the shores of l.ake Ruisamba, and as far 
to the east as the long wall which shuts in the great valley 
of the lakes on that side. This wall itself forms in reality 
the edge of the Victoria Nyanza plateau, and it runs a little 
to the north of Catwe actually up against the steep slopes 
of the outlying ramparts of the Mountains of the Moon 
along their eastern face. We were now fairly on the way 
towards these mountains, and the journey began to be of 
the most intense and ever-increasing interest as we went 
along. It may be remembered that the Mountains of the 



Moon were discovered by Stanley, although they had 
really been seen, but their nature not comprehended, 
by Baker, when he spoke of the “ Blue Mountains ” to 
the south of the Albert Nyanza. Stairs, during Stanley’s 
Emin relief expedition, had ascended one of the northern 
masses to a height of ten thousand feet, and, from what he 
there saw of the range, had come to the conclusion that 

Camping ground near the Albert Nyanza. 

the different snow-peaks and ridges were simply so many 
denuded fragments of the rim of a vast volcanic cone. 
Still later Stuhlmann, when with Emin Pasha, had ob- 
tained a magnificent series of views and photographs of 
some of these snow-peaks, from the west side of the range, 
that is from the Semliki valley. He had further made a 
desperate attempt to get up to the snow-line, but had 
found himself obliged to descend after reaching an altitude 


of twelve thousand feet. He appears to have been on a 
ridge which overlooked an inner valley with a lake at 
the bottom of- it, and this separated him from the snow. 
Stuhlmann saw no glaciers on the west side of the moun- 
tains during his journey, and seemed to favour the view 
that there were no glaciers on the mountains at all. 

In 1895 Scott Elliot made a much more extensive 
examination of these mountains, and traversed all along 
the east side from Kassigama’s to their southern ex- 
tremities. From this point he turned west and north, and 
reached the same places which Stuhlmann had reached 
previously. On the east he a.scended the Wimi, Mobuko, 
and Nyamwamba Valleys, but, owing to his ill-health, 
did not succeed in reaching the actual snow-line at any 
point. Nor did he demonstrate the existence of glaciers 
on any portions of the ranges which he visited. From 
his observations upon the Mobuko Valley, however, he 
came to the conclusion that at some former time ice had 
probably descended over some portions of it which he 
reached. There were therefore several matters of con- 
siderable geographical importance to be decided when I 
reached these mountains in the early spring of 1900. We 
did not know whether these huge mountain masses were 
remarkable in not possessing any glaciers, or, if they did 
possess them, what the character of these glaciers might 
be. We did not know, indeed, at what height the snow- 
line really existed, as no one had actually reached it, and, 
as I quickly found, our whole appreciation of the range 
had been obscured and befogged by the persistent and 
erroneous use by different travellers and geographical 
compilers of the terms Mount Ruwenzori and Ruwenzori 
in the singular, as if there was in reality one great moun- 
tain mass, whereas we are here dealing as a matter of fact 

Euphorbia and bush clump near the Albert Nyanza. 

but after we had crossed the Nyamwamba, a river which 
flows from the mountains eastward into Lake Ruisamba, 
the persistent rain-storms lifted somewhat on the heights in 
the afternoon, and here, for the first time, we caught a 
succession of glinipses of huge and rugged mountain 
masses, , which towered in black precipices one behind 
another through the mist and rain. We. could, however, 

28 o 


sec nothing of the snowy peaks, and towards evening the 
clouds shut down again over the nearer spurs, which we 
could now see were densely forest-covered. The persist- 
ence of heavy rain upon the mountains was extraordinary, 
and 1 thought it boded ill for the attempt I meant to make 
to reach the higher peaks. In two more days, however, 
we reached Fort Jerry, and Mr. Bagge was kind enough 
to lend me eventually one of his head boys, who was a 
native of Toro, and could speak the language of the hill 
tribes, and who had accompanied Mr. Bagge when he had 
explored the Nyamwamba Valley as far as the bamboo 
zone. He had done, in fact, more than this ; for after his 
master descended, the boy had gone on by himself as far 
as the heath zone, some tufts of which he had brought 
back. The story which he told of this solitary excursion 
was curious and amusing. He said that the climb was not 
at all one for any white man like me, and that after he left 
Mr. Bagge he climbed through the bamboos till he came 
to the heath, and finally got into a great amphitheatre of 
snowy mountains, with a lake at the bottom of it, beside 
which he rested, and then returned. Round the lake he 
said there were standing a number of great black birds 
which were bigger than sheep and bellowed like bulls. 
He said further that he did not think the ascent of any of 
the mountains near the lake would present much difficulty, 
as the tangle of heath ended by its shore, and after that 
there was nothing but slopes of rock and stone. 

1 therefore decided to explore the Nyamwamba Valley 
and the mountains which were associated with it. For 
this journey I took twenty of our Ujiji men, with Omari 
Kidogo and the Nyassa cook. I took enough pre.served 
provisions of various sorts to last a fortnight, and about two 
and a half loads of rice. The men took two small patrol tents, 



and I had also my ordinary tent, six blankets, some flannel 
shirts, a tarpaulin jacket and hat, one pair of ordinary nailed 
boots and one of indiarubber sea boots. For the men’s food 
in case of emergency 1 took three live goats and a sheep 
from Fort Jerry, and we bought five more goats on the 
road. It will thus be seen that the party was self-con- 
tained, and so long as we could get water, we were quite 
prepared for a month or more. This, I believe, is the 
great secret of success on all high mountains of this sort, 
where roads are not, and the party may be more than a 
week cutting their way through the forest to a point from 
which any general study of the mountains can be made. 
The morning on which I intended to have left Fort Jerry 
was beautifully cool and clear, but Mr. Bagge’s boy now 
complained of fever, and as we were not sure whether 
he was shamming or not, I gave him a gramme of acid 
quinine well mixed in a tumbler of water, and I told him 
if he did not get better, we should repeat the dose at 
breakfast time, but long before this he said he could 
start. He seemed uaable to walk, however, and I finally 
camped on the Catwe road, not five miles from the fort. 
During the night it rained heavily, and day broke in a 
wild thunderstorm, with torrents of rain. This delayed 
our start till ten a.m., when we made a move. We passed 
through clumps of elephant grass in a fine cold drizzle, 
and later on left the ordinary path and struck .south-west 
towards the mountains and the village of Butanuka. 
The track lay over very hilly country, which was covered 
with extensive patches of immense elephant grass, through 
which we had to bore our way half a mile at a time. The 
breathless mid-day heat in these tall grass patches is 
fearful, but about two o’clock the sky became again cloudy 
and ominous, and finally in the afternoon another deluge of 



rain came on. In the tall dripping grass we were wet 
through in an instant, and reached the village, which 
stands on an exposed hill, in a miserably drenched and 
cold condition. We were now at a height of seven thou- 
sand feet, and the cold, clear evening wind, which blew off 
the mountains after the rain, cut the porters like a knife. 
The village was in possession of a very wrinkled and 
genial old native lady, who was clad in a great bark-cloth 
and brass bangles, and wore earrings about four and a half 
inches in diameter. She had dry firewood, eggs and milk 
brought for me, for which I gave her some cloth and 

Next morning we started south along some grassy 
down-like spurs towards the Wimi river, which about 
nine a.m. proclaimed itself by a great roaring proceeding 
from a deep ravine. The path led to a supposed crossing, 
but when we descended the steep dip into the river bed 
we found it a brown, broad, leaping torrent, grinding 
invisible rocks in its bed like millstones, and quite im- 
passable. It was most important, however, not to waste 
time, and as there were clumps of tall trees standing by 
the river a little further to the west, we cut our way to 
these through some very thick elephant grass and scrub, 
reaching at last some of the trees, which were acacias, on 
the north bank. I got the men to fell the largest of these, 
a tree about ninety feet in height, and let it fall across the 
stream, in the hope that I might be able to send a boy 
over On the branches with a rope. Big as it was, however^ 
and only half cut through when it bent gracefully over into 
the water, directly it dipped into it the fierce current 
swept it away, with a succession of sharp cracks, and it 
disappeared down the stream like a cork. I tried an- 
other, and yet another, all with a like result. I therefore 


collected the men together again, and decided to march 
round to the east, and to try the lower ford on the road 
to Catwe, about seven miles from where we were. Mr. 
Bagge’s boy, however, informed me that after the heavy 
rain it would probably be worse. We reached the river 

The East shore of the Albert Nyanza. 

again about two p.m., and as we approached the ford, we 
found several natives* waiting to cross to the other side. 
Here fortunately, just above the road, there are two great 
rocks jutting out into the stream on either side ; and 
by felling trees 'we eventually reached one of these, and 
then threw poles across to the"] other. The river leapt 
between, some- sixteen yards wide, in a swift cataract ; and 

18 . 



it was by no means pleasant watching the first man cross, 
for the poles could naturally not be fixed on the oppo- 
site bank. By this means we finally got over the river 
and camped just as the sun was setting on the plain, above 
the cutting in which this jiortion of the river runs. 

We were now once more back upon the dry grass steppes 
of the Albert Edward Nyanza. The air was warm and 
limp and full of mosquitoes, and away to the west, over the 
flat bed of the Mobuko river, which could now be seen 
extending far into the hills, the great range rose in an end- 
less succession of dark forest-clad spurs, up into a heavy 
canopy of clouds above. The valleys of the Wimi and the 
Mobuko are here almost confluent, and that of the latter 
continues the yellow plain in a great V‘-‘5haped indentation, 
which reaches up to the beginning of the higher slopes. 

Next morning broke clear and cloudless ; the grass 
about the tent was drenched with dew, and there at last, 
away in the west, just before the sun rose behind me, 
hung the long line of snow peaks, every crag and detail 
brilliant and sunlit, above the still shadowed lower portions 
of the earth. As the sun rose the details became clearer, 
and I noticed below the snow on the different summits a 
curious orange band, which was evidently the “ brown line 
of rocks ” noticed by Stanley when he viewed the heights 
from the Semliki valley on the other side of the range. 

The view of the mountains from this point in the eturly 
mysterious light of the morning was more beautiful than 
any I have ever seen. All round us lay the vast yellow 
plain, covered with grass and dew and pinkish sand, and 
forming a dull golden foreground to the purple forest of the 
nearer hills. Further away again there rose the higher 
forests in tier upon tier of paling blue ; and over these the 
white snow-fields, so lonely and clear and cold that one 


seemed to suddenly look out of the sweltering barbarism of 
the tropics altogether and into a totally different world. 

Besides its marvellous beauty, this extended view of the 
great range was of the utmost importance during the latter 
part of our explorations, as it gave me an opportunity of 

A rocky harbour among the islands on the Victoria Nyanza. 

making a rapid sketch of the various snow peaks and the 
different mountain masses ; thus fixing their relative 
positions, so that I was subsequently able to identify my 
position at various points within the range. It was, 
moreover, of further importance, as it at once dismissed 
from my mind the last remnant of any idea that Ruwenzori 




could be considered as a single mountain mass. Before us 
lay an extensive mountain range, which looked as vast and 
formidable, and composed of as many different elemental 
peaks, as does the Alps from some of the Italian plains to 
the south. From the spot where we stood one could see 
some seventy-five miles of the range, and in this length 
there were at least four groups of distinct and individual 
snowy peaks. It will be remembered that Stuhlmann, 
when viewing the range at a distance from the west, 
described the various snow-peaks which he saw under the 
names of his different scientific friends ; and it may further 
be remembered that these peaks were associated together 
by him in four distinct groups. There was the southern 
group of mountains, immediately round the lofty snow-peak 
of Moebius ; a little to the north there were the great 
snowy heights round Ingomwimbi ; further to the north 
again appeared the lofty snow-cap of Kanyangogwi and its 
associates, and still further to the north appeared the lofty 
mass which has genenally been known as Saddle Mountain. 

From where I stood now, on the* eastern side of the 
range, the mountains again arranged themselves into these 
four groups ; and there can be no doubt, as the frontispiece 
and the sketch on page 267 will show, when compared with 
Stuhlmann’s figures, that we were both viewing the same 
series of mountains from opposite sides of the range, and 
from positions about seventy-five miles apart. 

At the same time it became equally obvious to me that 
the exploration of this range, from a mountaineering point 
of view, is a task which, in all probability, unless some one 
devotes his life to it, will not be completed for a great 
number of years ; and it was also at once made evident 
that to talk of ascending Ruwenzori was as absurd, as 
absolutely stupid in fact, as if one were to talk of ascend- 



ing the Alp. Nor can anyone as yet make any even 
approximate guess as to which of the many sublime snow- 
peaks which we could see from this point will, in after 
years, when some of them have been ascended and their 
distances from one another ascertained, in reality turn out 
to be the highest. As we shall see later, I, personally, do 
not think that any of the peaks are as high as they have 
been supposed to be ,* but to talk about them being twenty 
thousand feet, or any other definite height, as Major 
Gibbons did recently, is obviously a piece of nonsense ; 
and especially so for a traveller who, as he says himself, 
was never within forty miles of the snow at all. 



“ The sun Inokcd over the mountain's lim : 

And straight was a {mth of gold for him, 

And the need of a world of men for me.” 

— liROWNlNG. 

From our camp beside the Wimi river, after a short early 
march, in a curious light, half made up from the setting 
moon, half from the rising day, we reached the Mobuko 
river, and, to our consternation, found it in flood, like the 
Wimi, only, if possible, more impassable still. We had 
thus lost one entire day, and seemed likely to lose another, 
in trying to get across these rivers to the place from which 
we originally intended to have made p. start for the central 
core of the range. The Mobuko, or rather the valley in 
which it flows, winds itself, however, far back into the 
mountains, and the superb view which we had seen in the 
early morning had really been obtained through the cleft 
in the outer rampart of hills through which the river runs. 
This valley itself, therefore, offered a good means of 
approach to the higher ranges, and I find it has already 
attracted the attention of other explorers ; for it will be 
found that Mr. Scott Elliot remarks in his book that 
Captain (now General) Lugard had mentioned it to him 
as being probably one of the best ways to reach the snow. 
I therefore determined to change our route and try this 
valley forthwith. Having called the men together, I struck 


straight across the dry plain towards the gap in the hills 
from which the river emerges. It was a hot, rough march/ 
especially after we reached the foothills, the valley narrowing 
into the form of a wide, flat-bottomed trough, floored by 
tall elephant grass, spear grass, thorn trees, and dense 

Another view of the rocky coast. 

scrub, among which the beautiful scarlet Kaffir bloom was 
conspicuous all the way. 

After a halt I found the path along the floor of this 
valley so terribly hot, buried as we were among the 
immense grass, that I struck out on to the steep hill on 
the north side with one boy, leaving the men to come more 
slowly along the flat. We marched here for some time 
rather moodily on, as there was nothing to be seen of the 
mountains, but the boy pulled me suddenly by the sleeve 



and whispered, “Tembo!" (elephants). They were close 
to us on the floor of the valley, plodding leisurely through 
the grass about eighty yards off. I had nothing with me 
but my Lee-Enfield sporting rifle and expanding bullets, 
so that it would have been useless to fire at them from the 
hillside. The herd moved slowly into a small open space, 
twenty-two in all, some very fine beasts among them, and 
rested a moment, waving their trunks, and flapping their 
great ears to keep away the flies. Then they began to 
trumpet and moved off again, making a broad track 
through the scrub and grass. They now crossed the 
valley, and in a few minutes forded the river, disappearing 
among the grass and trees on the other side. Hardly had 
they gone when another herd of fourteen came slowly 
down the same track, stopped a moment in the same clear 
space, and, after trumpeting loudly, passed away in like 
manner across the river out of sight. 

About an hour later we struck a path, and towards even- 
ing we came to a small village near the river, where the 
chief gave me a fat-tailed sheep, and accompanied us to a 
larger village just at the mouth of a great gorge, where the 
valley finally enters into the higher ranges. We were all 
very tired, and I was extremely grateful to an ugly old man 
who brought a great bowl of fresh goat’s milk to the tent. 
I think I must have drunk more than a gallon of it, and, 
after a bathe, went out to see where we were Ascending 
a small spur, I found that directly in front of me the valley 
appeared to be almost closed by the huge tooth-like moun- 
tain which guards the entrance to it and rises above the 
forest in bare, black, absolutely perpendicular precipices 
to a height of about thirteen thousand feet, and a little to 
the south of this, and just visible between it and the 
southern shoulder of the valley, there was a solitary snow- 



peak, wild and jagged enough to raise doubts in the mind 
of any climber. It appeared to be about four miles to the 

On the following morning we left the camp about seven 
o’clock and pushed rapidly up the valley, crossing the still 
flooded and ice-cold river twice, until we rounded the 
shoulder on the southern side. Once round this, we en- 
tered the mountain region proper ; ridge after ridge rose 
steeply to the north and immediately to our left, clothed 
with dense forest and from which there protruded heavy 
masses of bare rock. Immediately in front of us, and 
entirely blocking the view up the valley, there was a steep 
forest-clad spur, which we ascended, and, after a very stiff 
climb of about one thousand feet, came out on the top. On 
the narrow summit there was a sort of meadow, covered with 
soft grass and yellow and pink ground orchids, and a few 
huts were grouped among the trees; and also, coming almost 
immediately on the opposite face of the ridge, there opened 
out before us one of the most superb panoramic views of 
great mountains I have ever seen. The north-western face 
of the ridge on which we stood fell about one thousand five 
hundred feet precipitately into the river, and commanded 
about four miles of its deep valley ; and round this, forming 
as it were an immense natural amphitheatre, there rose 
some thirty huge mountain masses, which frowned down on 
the white foaming torrent in an absolutely bewildering array 
of solemn cloud-flecked precipices. 

The natives in the little village on the ridge were a 
friendly, primitive people, who bartered peas and beans 
eagerly for cloth. I made friends with the headman, and 
finally got him to agree to go with me to the snow-line, 
together yijith fifteen of his men. This was a great score, 
as the mountain people are used to the cold, and, further, 



they know certain paths which lead a long way up the 
mountains, and are used by them while trapping the hyrax, 
out of which they make their great fur coats. 

As we lay talking to them, the chief told us that no one 
could get up to the snow, that beyond a certain height the 
mountains were full of devils, and that as the traveller 
approached the snow-line, the “white stuff” continually 
changed its place. 

After extracting in this manner what trustworthy in- 
formation I could from the people, I decided that the chief 
and ten men from the village should accompany us, while 
Taratibu and five Swahilis remained in the camp. 

The little plateau on the toj:) of the ridge where we now 
encamped was deliciously cool after the glaring heat of the 
lower plains, and I sat, till long after the sun had set, 
watching the endless changes of colour which swept over 
the mountains, as the daylight died out and that of the 
moon increased. As it became late it also grew colder, and 
one of the strange phenomena of the mountains began to 
manifest itself. As I sat I heard idi different directions 
a faint roaring, a murmur like that of a distant sea, which 
gradually increased until it proclaimed itself near at hand 
as a mighty rushing wind ; it was a wind however which 
was not distributed everywhere, but which blew, so to 
speak, in patches, always descending from the upper 
forest-clad slopes, and roaring away lower and lower down 
the deep wooded canons until it disappeared. Again and 
again the faint murmur would become audible, high up on 
some lonely summit ; and the descending current would 
gradually fall, wailing and moaning through the trees, like 
a weird voice, until it finally toppled into the limp hot 
valleys below. These strange gusts were, in fact, the air 
which had become cooled in contact with the peaks, and 



was now falling in dense masses into the lower and warmer 
world of the plains. 

Next morning we started for the upper part of the valley, 
taking with us two loads of rice, my own provisions (one 
load), instruments, blankets, clothes, etc., and two very 
small tents belonging to the porters. One of these was for 
myself, and the other for the Swahilis, Omari, and the cook. 
We drove up five goats and a sheep. The way taken 
led down a steep descent of about one thousand feet into 
a bed of a southern tributary of the river, which we 
crossed, and then began to ascend along the great gorge of 
the river itself. The gradient was steep, but the bush and 
forest not thick, and after about three hours we rested on 
an overhanging rock perched on the edge of the gorge, 
which here fell some one thousand five hundred feet sheer 
into the torrent below. The forest became now more or 
less diversified with bamboos in patches, and soon after 
lunch we entered a very thick grove, beneath which the 
ground was black and boggy. After a time the blackness 
and the bogginess ot the ground became more and more 
pronounced, and we finally .sank up to our knees among 
moss, ferns, and brambles, which straggled beneath the 
bamboos. To add to the general discomfort, clouds now 
gathered round us, the mist wjis damp and chilly, and 
finally rain fell in torrents. We were evidently getting to 
a considerable height, for it was now quite easy to march 
in a coat with a tarpaulin jacket over that, and about three 
o’clock we reached another great overhanging mass of 
schist, under, which we took shelter from the rain. Im- 
mediately beneath the rock the ground was dry and dusty 
for the space of about three feet. The men were shaking 
with cold, and we lighted fires and pipes, for the tem- 
perature under the rock was only just 40®, and whenever 



the Wind stirred among the tall wet bamboos, which shut 
us in like a fence, the half-naked Swahilis crowded round 
the blaze miserably. The natives of the mountain village 
were much hardier, but all appeared to be wretchedly cold 
and wet. About 3.30 p.m. the rain cleared, and I should 
have liked to have gone on, but all the men declared that 
they had had more than enough of it for one day, so I let 
them stay where they were, and formed an early camp. 

It was a curious place, completely shut in among the tall 
drenched bamboos, and from which no view was possible. 
I therefore climbed round the rock, and finally got out 
on the top of it. From this point of vantage I could see 
the great thunder-clouds slowly rising off the dark green 
slopes that surrounded the valley, and disclosing the deep 
purple sides of the central masses towards which we were 
making. As they lifted, some brilliant streaks of snow 
appeared above the forests on one of the central peaks, and 
I was again wretchedly misled, as I found out afterwards, 
by our apparent proximity to this ridge, which appeared 
to rise immediately in front. Light ^wreaths of mist and 
finer blue vapour lay about the valley and the forest-clad 
slopes, in the same way that they do at home on a wet 
October evening, and the air felt similarly frosty and cold 
and damp. As the thunder clouds dispersed, one could 
make out more of the surrounding heights. There was a 
wild rocky tooth over the forest to the left, so sharp and 
steep that neither trees nor snow lay upon its savage summit, 
which must have reached a height of fourteen thousand feet. 
This tooth-like spike, and the great mountain masses which 
lay to the south of it, were separated from the central 
masses, which now lay immediately in front of us, by a deep 
cleft, running east and west, the bottom of which seemed to 
lie at about the same level as the rock on which we stood. 


while to the north of the central mass of mountains there 
was another cleft or pass separating them from the northern 
snowy summits. This was not so deep, and both passes 
terminated towards us in a sort of expanded meadow two 
or three miles long and about three miles broad, which was 

Sunrise and departing storm-clouds on the Victoria Nyanza. From an island 

in the lake. 

covered with moss, heath, and bushes, and lay immediately 
in front of us. 

We had thus a choice of two routes, one to the north and 
one to the south of the central masses, and as the sun set I 
held a consultation with the old chief as to which would be 
the best road to take. We finally decided for that to the 
north, as it appeared to be higher, and returned to the 
shelter of, the rock. 

Next morning I awoke cold and stiff in spite of the 


blankets, and we set off towards the meadow. We 
dipped slightly down, and the ground became more and 
more boggy as wc went, small streams trickling between 
the moss and bramble roots, and the hollow places being 
filled up with masses of cold wet sphagnum, often very 
deep. On the brambles there were delicious blackberries, 
and among the thorns there now appeared numerous heath 
trees, often of immense size and sometimes sixty feet or 
more in height. The meadow was also flooded with warm 
sunshine, and ablaze with many kinds of brilliant flowers. 
After blundering through this bog for about two hours, we 
at last reached the foot of one of the central mountains, 
which rose abruptly from the meadow in great brownish 
precipices of micaceous schist, unscaleable in most places, 
and carrying high up on its wild face, in cracks and ledges, 
patches of dark heath and red and green thorns. To the 
north, however, at the base of the cleft between this central 
mountain and those to the north, which we had seen ■ from 
our last camp, we found the course of an old torrent which 
had at some former time swept ddwn into the meadow 
under an immense overhanging face of gneiss. The course 
of this torrent was now dry, and we found it possible to 
iiscend, creeping under the great cliff, which hung over the 
channel for more than fifty feet. The channel was dry and 
dusty, and so exceedingly steep that it was with the greatest 
difficulty that the loads were got up at all, and finally the 
sheep had to be pulled up neck and crop with a rope. I 
was determined, however, that everything should go up, as 
I felt sure that the snow was further to the west than we 
had supposed. Beyond the first pitch of this ascent it was 
necessary to traverse out along the face of the cliff a short 
distance to the north, and here we crossed probably the 
same stream which had at some former time made the 



channel below. Beyond this the final climb into the base 
of the upper valley was very wet and steep, and finally we 
got out on to the flat ground which forms the base of the 
cleft we had seen the night before. We were now com- 
pletely in the heath zone ; the bamboos had disappeared, 
and the whole of this upper region was clothed in a dense 

The wreck of our dhow on the Victoria Nyanza. 

forest of moss-draped heath trees, between which there 
were patches of yellow sphagnum and other kinds of 
different coloured moss. The great trunks and branches 
of these trees lay as they had fallen for centuries, this way 
and that — some rotten, some sound — and they were piled 
up for thirty or forty feet above the actual ground below. 
Betwixt and between their sharp twisted limbs moss of 


every kind had grown, filling all up into what looked like a 
long-forgotten graveyard which was surrounded by the 
heath forest, which still stood ; and this, with its black 
foliage and long grey waving beards of moss, added 
materially to the unearthly appearance of the scene. It 
was a terrible place, for every step had to be taken at 
random among the moss and rotten stems, and men and 
loads were continually disappearing with a yell and a crash. 
I was doubtful what to do, for it was impossible that we 
could push far through the valley if it remained the same ; 
but fortunately the men seemed to think that I should go on 
at any price, and finally we came to better and steeper 

The ascent now followed the river we had crossed in the 
morning, and to walk along its stony path free from the 
terrible heath was a relief indeed. After a time we climbed 
out of the valley and traversed along the southern slope, 
and it was obvious that the men were getting very tired, 
AS the chief was continually pointing out white blocks of 
quartz on the different slopes as snow, knowing that snow 
was what I wished to reach. I had no idea where we 
were, for all above was draped in heavy mist, and finally 
the chief came to me and said that we had better turn up 
at once and ascend the slope we were on. I had doubts 
about this, however, as I did not think we had travelled 
far enough to the west. But, fortunately, while we talked 
the clouds parted ahead, and right in front of us there 
appeared dimly the huge form of a snow-peak. I there- 
fore descended rapidly to the floor of the valley, and, 
following it up, came to another steep step, up. which 
the men climbed slowly and with difficulty, and finally 
one of the Swahilis said he could go no more. I gave 
him brandy, and told him to rest where he was for a time, 



Omari carrying his load. We then got over the step 
into the upper part of the valley and, a few hundred 
yards further on, found shelter and a camping-ground 
under an immense overhanging cliff of schist. There 
was plenty of firewood, and we tried to keep warm, 
but the thermometer stood at 30®, and, in spite of till we 
could do, it was bitterly cold. The sun was now setting 
far below, sending a wild red glare over the clouds, which 
had again descended on the peak. But just before it set 
the clouds dissolved and rolled away, disclosing a splendid 
pink mass of rocks and snow immediately in front of us, 
the summit of which appeared to be about two miles away 
and some two thousand feet above where we stood. This 
peak eventually turned out to be that of Ngomwimbi, and 
I obtained the photograph of it, given on p. 233. Later 
on the moon rose, and the view of the crest of the moun- 
tain grew again brilliantly clear, the dark crags and snow- 
patches glittering with a strange brilliance of contrast in 
the blue frosty light. 




“ Over the Mountains of the Moon, 

Down the valley of the shadow.” 

— Edgar Ai.lan Poe. 

I AWOKE next morning very stiff and cold ; white frost 
was on the leaves and on the ground about us, and I 
quickly found that I myself was very hungry indeed. I 
therefore proceeded to look for the cook, whom I could 
not find for some time, among the heavy heath trees. I 
stumbled over him at last, however, lying on his back, 
quite naked, and snoring loudly by a red fire. We made 
a large breakfast of a sheep we had killed the night before, 
and a goat, to which I added sausages, jam, and delicious 
water from the river, and then started once more along 
the valley. The morning was cloudless and the sunshine 
was pleasantly warm as we passed out of the deep cold 
shadow of the rocks. After proceeding for a considerable 
distance up the valley, the nearer ridge of Ingomwimbi 
shut out the snow-fields from our view immediately in 
front, and we found that there was another step in the 
valley, two or three hundred feet in height. Going, how- 
ever, was now easy among the mosses and the strange 
gigantic lobelias and groundsels. The vegetation was 
becoming thin, and there were no more doubtful places to 
be crossed. Omari was some distance ahead of me with 
Mr. Bagge’s boy, and when they reached , the top of the 



Step together, I saw them calling to me to come up and 
look. When I reached them I found that we had come 
suddenly upon a most surprising view. The valley swept 
round the face of Ngomwimbi to the right, and, steeply 
enclosing this e.Ktension of it on all sides, rose the 
huge buttresses of the snow peak of Kanyangogwi and 
of a northern snowy extension of Ngomwimbi itself. The 

The wreck of our dhow on the Victoria Nyaiiza. The Sultan of the island watches 
the salvage operations under an umbrella. Another view. 

valley, in fact, ended in a great snowy horseshoe, which 
was dazzlingly white and beautiful, and from these snow- 
fields I now saw, to my intense surprise and delight, that 
there descended three superbly green glaciers, the snout 
of one of which pushed far into the valley. So there 
were glaciers on these mountains, and there are probably 
many of them descending from other faces of the great 




peaks, into numerous valleys which have never yet been 
entered by any European. After contemplating the 
glorious snow-fields for some time, I tried to determine 
where we now were, and what would be most profitable 
in the way of a further ascent. It was obvious that the 
particular crest of Ngomwimbi which we had seen from 
our camp the night before, and the snow ridge which was 
now facing us at the end of the valley, were both portions 
of the same mountain ; and it also became obvious that 
these snow-fields formed what appeared to be the higher 
snowy peaks among the central mass of mountains which 
we had seen from the Albert Edward plains. There were 
now visible patches of snow on a level with and below us, 
on the mountains which form the outer summits of the 
great central group. We had, in fact, travelled along the 
northern face of one of these, and it was now seen to be 
separated from the greater crests of Ngomwimbi by a deep 
valley running north and south. 

The cre.sts atid ridges of Ngomwimbi were seen to be 
separated from those of the northern groups of peaks 
associated with the mountain known as Kanyangogwi by a 
deep cleft, and in this a glacier descended almost to the 
floor of the valley. That part of Ngomwimbi, which we 
had seen from the camp the night before, formed an angle 
with t.he ridge which now faced us at the end of the valley, 
and in this angle the smallest of the three glaciers which we 
had just discovered fell towards an obvious moraine. 
Further along the ridge a much larger mass of ice 
descended towards the valley, giving off a stream which 
fell in a beautiful cascade into the valley itself. By care- 
fully examining the face of the ridge in front, I came to the 
conclusion that it would be impossible to ascend by the 
glacier on the right, or yet by the small glacier on the left ; 



but it appeared that there was a practicable ascent towards 
the central glacier, by first moving up to the left, then 
crossing the base of the glacier itself, and afterwards 
working along a rocky ridge, first to the right and then to 
the left, on to the top of the ridge. I had thus two or three 
courses open to me. I could either ascend at once the 
lower portions of Ngomwimbi, which we had seen the 
night before, and, by working back somewhat along the 
valley, attempt the ascent of that portion of the summit ; I 
could cross the valley bodily to the north, and work up 
over the steep brown lichen-covered rock faces of Kanyan- 
gogwi to the snow-fields which now appeared above them, 
or we could pursue our way up the valley and ascend by the 
glaciers, on to that [jarticular summit of Ngomwimbi which 
the natives call Sitchwe. I wanted to visit the glaciers 
which we had just discovered, and I therefore decided for 
the latter. We moved on nearly to the end of the valley, 
and then struck straight up the steep slope to the left. 
Here after a short time we got intp difficulties, coming 
upon some precipitous gullies, which we found it necessary 
to work round for a considerable distance. Finally, how- 
ever, we got above the bad places and then climbed 
steadily on, until we reached some old moraines, which we 
crossed ; moving out thence towards the cascade which 
came from the glacier itself. Below us, and above us, and 
around us the rock faces were ice worn, rounded, and 
scratched, and it was obvious that heavy ice had at one 
time extended much further down the mountains than it 
does at present. We were here, in fact, encountering 
phenomena which are precisely similar to those which have 
been observed by Gregory and others upon Mount Kenia. 

We were now at an altitude of 13,400 feet ; snow, was 
lying about in patches, and in .some places far below ; we 



were also now getting clear of all vegetation except a 
little moss, and I moved as rapidly as possible towards the 
waterfall, for clouds had gathered on the snow-fields above, 
and this part of the ascent looked as if it might become 
hazardous if we missed the way. We had hardly got 
within two hundred yards of the water, however, and were 
moving along over an awkward rock-face, when, without 
any warning, the mist rushed down upon us, and for some 
time we were in a very unpleasant situation indeed. It was 
intensely cold, fine snow was falling, and we were struggling 
apparently nowhere on the smooth ice-worn edge of a 
fearful precipice that sank into the valley sixteen hundred 
feet below. 

The roar of the waterfall was deafening, and I found it 
also most unnerving in the white impenetrable shroud in 
which we were now enveloped. I therefore struck up 
towards the glacier without crossing the stream, telling the 
men to follow, which they did. We were now slowly 
scrambling up over yvet rocks and patches of snow. The 
men were shivering, and I was afraid the Swahilis might 
die ; but once more, without any warning, the clouds 
sank suddenly below us, and in a flood of warm sunshine 
we saw that the bluish caverned base of the ice was 
about one hundred yards in front. I halted beside it, 
and called to the men to come and eat some. The 
Swahilis would not touch it for some time, but after I had 
eaten a piece they tried also, grinning with the fierce cold. 
One boy, in fact, picked up a large piece and wrapped it in 
his cloth, with the intention of taking it back with him to 
Ujiji. The ice lay in huge blocks, which had fallen from 
the face of the glacier, all round us, and while we were 
there ice and stones came thundering down in showers as 
the warm sun played on the fields above. 


From where we stood it looked possible to ascend along 
the north end of the glacier, but while I was debating with 
myself whether to follow this route or follow out the 
longer one, which 1 had already planned, to the right, a 
sudden squall came on ; the wind rushed down off the ice, 

Over the great Nyanza swell. 

filled with fine driven snow, causing a general stampede 
among the half-naked men. They ran down the steep 
rocks nearly to the top of the cascade, crossing the stream, 
and finally took shelter under some huge rocks, where 
there was a quantity of moss and dead herbage. With 
these we lighted fires, and I put up what shelters [ could 
with stones and moss, the Ujiji boys being far too cold to 

3o6 to the mountains OF THE MOON. 

do anything for themselves. It was now about eleven 
o’clock, and I immediately left this our final camp, striking 
up across the rocks alone towards the point I had seen 
from the valley below. As I crossed the snow-fields of the 
slope above there was a glorious view of the snowy peak 
of Kanyangogwi to. the north. It is very high and preci- 
pitous, and on the west, drops in a succession of fearful 
precipices, above which, near the top, huge masses of 
snow were hanging as if by a single hair, until they 
should finally topple over, as others had done, into the 
green valleys thousands of feet beneath, each leaving a 
great blue rent in the treacherous white slope above. 
Hundreds of glittering white heaps of snow had also fallen 
from this peak upon the small glacier to the north, now far 
below me. 

Looking towards the south-west as I neared the final 
ridge, the view remained completely shut in by the black 
snow-streaked precipices of Ngomwimbi, and, advancing 
further, I came upon a stratified mass of ice and snow 
several hundred feet in height, which lay against some rocks 
to the south. This was the final ice-cap of the ridge, and 
in general it appears to be the case that the ridges and 
peaks in the Mountains of the Moon are more correctly 
de.scribed as being capped with ice than covered with snow. 
It was obvious from where I stood that the last part of the 
climb on to the ridge was going to be very awkward and 
steep. I therefore took a boiling point observation where 
I was, which gives the altitude as 13,702, and this observa- 
tion was repeated with approximately the same results next 
day. I then left the hypsometric apparatus on the snow, 
and took with me for the further climb only an aneroid, a 
rope, and an axe. It was a very steep and awkward 
ascent, and I should say almost impracticable for one man. 



unless, as at this time, much fresh snow had fallen, filling 
up the irregularities, in the ice and the rock, into a steep 
soft slope. In several places I had to take alternately to 
the rock and the ice, but at last the rock became better, and 
I finally got out on to a small patch of snow, under a mass 
of rocks which stood about ten feet above me on the left. 
It was the top of the ridge, but there was nothing whatever 
to be seen. The snow sloped gradually away to the west 
and on both sides of me, while a furious cold wind and 
mist came rushing from the Semliki side. Having reached 
this point on the ridge, I had therefore now accomplished 
all that I had set out to do. I had reached the snow and 
ice for the first time on one of the ridges of the Moun- 
tains of the Moon. I therefore danced a wild dance on 
my narrow resting-place, set my aneroid for a differential 
reading, and began to descend slowly again to the lower 
snows. At the place on the snow where I took the con- 
firmed hypsometric observations of 13,702 feet, this 
aneroid, which had become disorganised, as they nearly 
always do at great altitudes, stood at 15,400 feet, and on 
the top of the ridge gave a differential reading of 1,200 
feet higher, which is probably approximately correct, and 
when, consequently, this is added to the hypsometric 
observation, it gives an altitude of 14,900 feet as the 
highest point I reached on the ridge. This of course only 
refers to the northern snow ridge of Ngomwimbi, and I 
have a strong impression that Ngomwimbi proper, 
Kanyangogwi and Saddle Mountains are all higher. I 
found the way down anything but pleasant ; my hands 
were numb with the cold, and the superficial wetness of the 
snow and rocks had now in the afternoon frozen in places 
into an intensely slippery glaze, and I had several very 
unpleasant foretastes of being shot bodily over the ice-cap 

3o8 to the mountains OF THE MOON. 

on to the lower snows. Finally, however, I got down to 
the place where I had left the hypsometric apparatus and 
rested on the snow ; whence I found my way down over the 
lower snow-fields into the camp just after sunset. Omari 
and Mr. Bagge’s boy were, however, not there, and I 
found that they had gone out to look for me, being alarmed 
at my long absence on the upper part of the ridge. 

From this place, after several days, we retraced our 
steps slowly to Fort Jerry, where I found Fergusson was 
much better, and in consequence I left immediately by 
myself with a number of men for the Albert Nyanza. 



“ So the old order changeth, giving place to the new.’* 

Having reached the Albert Nyanza, and having found that 
the fauna in that lake had the characters of the fauna: 
present in Kivu and the Albert Edward Nyanza, I had 
completed the projected survey of the African lakes, at any 
rate so far as those that occur in the great central valley of 
the continent are concerned. 1 had proved conclusively, 
and without any manner of doubt, that the marine fauna 
which characterises Lake Tanganyika does not extend 
beyond the old confines of that lake, which are still visible, 
some forty miles north of its present site. It had been 
found not only that ^hey were not present in the northern 
extensions of the great valley in which Kivu, the Albert 
Edward and the Albert Nyanzas all lie, but also that they 
never had been present there, at least since the old lake 
deposits which are cut by the Ruchuru river, and the 
similar formations which are cut by the Semliki, were 
formed. We had thus disposed of any possibility that the 
marine fauna of Lake Tanganyika might be conceived as a 
peculiarity of the fresh waters of Africa in general, by which 
it might be supposed to differ in the character of its 
components from that of the fresh water population of any 
of the other great continents of the earth. This latter 
demonstration was in itself of considerable importance, for 
it had been held by several geologists, after the results of 


the first Tanganyika expedition were published, that such 
might eventually be found to be the case, and that the 
seeming anomalous character of the Tanganyika fauna 
might prove, therefore, to be only an appearance, arising 
from our lack of knowledge of the nature of the faunae 
which occur in the other great lakes of the same continent. 
This, however, we had, as I have said, found not to be the 
case. The marine fauna of Tanganyika is, so far as it is at 
[present known, rigidly restricted within the confines of the 
great lake in which it was at first discovered ; and as such 
it can only be viewed as a relic — as the zoological remains, 
in fact — of a departed sea. This being so, it becomes also 
obvious that the only tenable explanation of the relation- 
ships and the origin of this strange isolated marine relic is 
to be found in the extraordinary correspondence which I 
found to subsist between the shells of the marine molluscs 
which now live in Lake Tanganyika and of those of the old 
Jurassic seas. Tanganyika appears, indeed, to be either 
the remains of one of these old seas, or a basin into which 
the water of such an antique ocean and the animals that 
were in it, could directly find their way. 

In any attempt at understanding the great features of the 
history of the African continent as a whole, the presence of 
these animals in the remote interior is thus of immense 
importance ; for their existence there implies the progress 
of great terrestrial changes, and these changes in turn 
at once, so to speak, make hay of the older geological 
conceptions of the past history of this portion of the earth ; 
that is to say, with the view that Africa is a continent 
which is almost unique in the permanence of its terrestrial 
conditions ; that there have, in fact, been in Africa none of 
those oscillations of the earth which we are accustomed to 
associate with extensive volcanic activities. 


31 1 

This view of the stability of Africa as a land mass has 
originated partly at least through the manner in which we 
have become acquainted with its features. The high 
interior was explored, at any rate in a geological sense, 
primarily from the east ; and the first effect of these 
explorations was to bring to light the fact that the country 
beyond the coast-line was destitute of any extensive 
aqueous deposits. It was a land apparently composed 
wholly of granitoid and eruptive rock, which was conse- 
quently, when speaking geologically, without a history. It 
was incomplete data of this sort which led Sir Roderick 
Murchison to formulate the view (which he published in 
the Presidential address to the Royal Geographical Society 
for 1852) that Africa was a continent which was unique 
in the permanence and long preservation of its ancient 
terrestrial conditions ; that, in fact, as a land mass it was 
almost unique in its stability. Sir Roderick associated this 
quiescence with what was then thought to be the fact, 
namely, that south of the equator in Africa there were no 
volcanoes, nor any tpace of those volcanic activities which 
we arc accustomed to associate with the great movements 
of the earth. 

This was in 1852, and it is perhaps not without its 
chastening effect to reflect that there was even then in 
existence, if the President of the Royal Geographical 
Society’s knowledge had only gone far enough, a 
veritably smoking refutation of this view in the great 
active cones of the Mfumbiro mountains ; and besides these 
more active protests there were also other silent, but no less 
eloquent ones, in the volcanic outpourings and volcanic 
activities about Tanganyika, and even as far south as a 
group of extinct cones on Lake Nyassa. Later on, fresh 
evidence of great earth movements was discovered in the 


interior, more especially in relation to the valley in which 
Lakes Rudolph and Beringo lie, to the east of the Mao 
plateaux ; and the information respecting this great IfsUeiy 
and others like it, led finally to the association by Sues of a 
whole series of geological movements of almost unequalled 
magnitude. It was shown by this author that the valleys 
in which Tanganyika, Rukwa, and Nyassa lie, along with^‘ 
those of Kivu, the Albert Edward and the Albert Nyanzas, 
were connected in the north with those in which Lakes 
Rudolph and Beringo occur, on the other side of the 
Victoria Nyanza ; and that the depression after the junction 
of its two southern ramifications pursued its way uninter- 
ruptedly through the chasm of the Red Sea, which is, in 
fact, a part of it, up the Gulf of Akabar into the Dead Sea, 
and finally broke up and terminated in the valleys of the 
tributaries of the Jordan. These valleys are everywhere 
associated with and formed by successive and gigantic 
faulting, whereby long strips of the land, often hundreds of 
miles in length, have been allowed to fall and sink between 
opposing lines of cliff. The trough^like valleys thus pro- 
duced are of immense depth, and form the basins of 
numerous lakes. Quite independently of Lake Tanganyika 
and its jelly fishes, we have therefore now, from the geo- 
logists themselves, unquestionable evidence of the fact that 
Africa, instead of being a land of great stability, is one in 
which there have been local movements on a scal^ htu'dly 
equalled anywhere else in the world ; and what is more, we, 
find that through some of the latest geological exploration in 
the eastern series of these valleys, it has been shown Ijhat ,, 
in all probability the movements which produced them have' 
been in operation quite recently ; while lastly, we .have the 
numerous observations, which I myself have accumulated, 
relating to local upheavals and depressions of the floor of 



the valleys of both Nyassa and Tanganyika, and which 
show that these movements are unquestionably going on 
still the presiSnt time. 

What, then, is the meaning of all this change in the 
j-shape and the configuration of the land in the interior of 
Africa which has gone on and is still going on ? What 
broad effects has it produced in the past, and in what 
direction may it be expected to lead ? It is of course at the 
present time, and in the imperfect state of our knowledge 
of the interior, impossible to form ■ any detailed conception 
of the meaning of these gigantic earth movements ; but it 
is nevertheless possible, and even desirable, that we should 
follow the evidence as far as it will take us, since even now 
it leads directly to conclusions respecting the nature and 
origin of some of the great physical features of the con- 
tinent, which are entirely different from any that have 
been hitherto entertained. 

If we examine a section of Africa from east to west, we 
find that the continent assumes, roughly speaking, the form 
of a great arch — an immense hog’s back, in fact — and that 
the crest of the arch through which it is supposed that we 
have cut runs approximately north and south. On the top 
of the ridge, and running also approximately north and 
south, there are two . immensely long and relatively very 
narrow cracks, in which the lakes lie in strings and chains, 

, like rain puddles on the ridge of a gabled roof ; and 
between these two cracks there is a high and more or less 
fiat area, one portion of which is occupied by the Victoria 
Nyanza. Further, if we examine the coast of the con- 
tinent on the east or on the west, we find that the land has 
everywhere risen, old beaches and elevated marine deposits 
being met with at considerable heights above the sea level, 
and far inland. If, on the contrary, we examine the floor 



of the two great cracks which lie on the top of the hog’s 
back, we see everywhere indications of gigantic faulting and 
the falling in and sinking of long strips of land relatively to 
the sides of these cracks. 

If I bend up this paper by compressing its edges, it also 
becomes a curved hog’s back just like the African continent ; 
and if the top of this ridge were to protrude above a water 
surface, the coasts would gradually rise as the edges of the 
paper became crushed in. Earth movements of this kind 
are everywhere known to go on, and are associated by 
geologists with the crinkling and folding, the puckering and 
ridging, caused by the skin of the earth shrinking as the 
interior cools. Further, if this paper had a surface of 
enamel, or some other hard substance, the bending up in 
the middle would lead to cracking and cracks running along 
the top of the ridge, and thus repeat in miniature the cracks 
and the chasms which score the African continent from 
north to south. Thus the gross configuration of Africa, as 
it at present exists, can be understood as an expression, in 
one of its boldest forms, of those great earth movements 
which are associated with the cooling in space of the great 
interior mass of the globe. It has been produced by move- 
ments similar to those which have formed the Andes and 
the Rocky Mountains, the Alps and the Caucasus. The 
ridge of Africa is in reality a vast mountain chain ; but it 
is one which is not like most other mountain ranges, the 
denuded relic of bygone activities, but one which has all 
the appearance of being in the beginning of its life. 

We are, so far as I know, indebted to my friend, Mr. 
Scott Elliot, for the appreciation of the very obvious fact 
that in Africa there exists a great central mountain chain, 
which runs from the Mountains of the Moon in the north, 
to the wild rocky summits of Mlangi, fourteen hundred 


miles away, in the south. I have travelled over and along 
the whole of this ridge, but nowhere was there a break in 
the immense series of mountain masses which flank the 
lake valleys to the east. Everywhere along the line there 
were ridges and summits, which towered up from ten to 
twelve, and finally to fifteen, thousand feet in height. 

I therefore cordially agree with Professor Scott Elliot that 
the existence of this vast central range, which is nearly as 
high and quite as long as that portion of the Rocky Moun- 
tains which is contained in the United States, should be 
recognised by some comprehensive name, such as the Great 
Central Range ; and I shall therefore, in this and future 
publications, speak of it as such. This range, and the 
hog’s backing and humping of the whole continent with 
which it is associated, are, as we have seen, apparently 
the products of the earth movements, which in places are in 
progress at the present time ; and we must come conse- 
quently to the conclusion that Africa, instead of being a 
permanent and rather uninteresting land-mass without a 
history, is one which has been — and, what is more, still is — 
undergoing the most intensely interesting physical changes ; 
changes which, in fact, are comparable to, and probably not 
at all dissimilar from, those which produced the Alps in 
comparatively late geological times. 



“ Have you groped 
Out wisdom in the wilds here ? 


In the last chapter I have referred to the changes which 
have unquestionably gone on in the African interior in the 
past, and I also pointed out that there was direct and in- 
contestable evidence to show that these changes arc even at 
the present time in full swing. It may therefore not be out 
of place to refer in the present chapter to another series of 
phenomena, which have for a long time been most per- 
plexing, but which, when rightly interpreted, appear to 
show, in an equally conclusive manner, the extraordinary 
impermanence of the terrestrial conditions of the continent 
in which they occur. 

These observations have nothing to do with geology nor 
even with jelly-fish. They relate to certain features of the 
flora of Central Africa, which, when first encountered, are 
utterly perplexing, and seem to indicate the past or present 
operations of a landscape gardener who is not there. 

If we were to land now on the banks of the Upper Shir6 
river, we should find, after pushing our way through the 
reeds and the growths which fringe the waterside, that we 
had entered a country having, for all practical purposes, the 
character of a park. It is made up of wide lawns of 
short grass, in which there stand clumps and isolated 



specimens of different forms of trees. ■ These trees are 
not crowded together, but are grown just as they are in a 
piece of English park-land, so that they can be seen to 
the best advantage, with wide open spaces in between. 
The whole scenery in such a place is so peculiar and so 
artificial in outward aspect, that I cannot perhaps describe 
it better than by saying that it bears a very remarkable 
and close resemblance to that area of kept ground which is 
known as the Arboretum in the Royal Gardens at Kew. 
There is no tangle, no forest, the scenery is delightful ; is 
extremely beautiful, in fact, so much so, indeed, that could 
it be divested of its sweltering tropical concomitants, I am 
inclined to think these natural parks, when compared with 
those of the landscape gardener at home, would be generally 
admitted to be the more pleasing of the two. 

Unnatural looking park-lands of this description are very 
characteristic of vast areas in the interior, and they have, 
in consequence, naturally attracted the attention of many 
explorers besides myself. Thus we, find Stanley and 
Stuhlmann, Emin Pasha and Cassati, Joseph Thomson 
and Sir Harry Johnstone, all drawing attention to the 
existence and peculiar appearance of these parks. 

As a matter of fact they cover very wide areas of tropical 
Africa both in the interior and on the coast. Thus I 
myself have encountered them on the plains behind Beira, 
on the great alluvial plains bordering the Zambesi river, 
on the similar flats flanking the Lower and Upper Shire 
river, all over the great plains surrounding Lake Shirwa, 
on the alluvial flats and plains bordering Lake Nyassa, to 
the east, to the west, and to the north. They appear again 
in many places on the high interior plateau between 
Nyassa and Tanganyika ; they cover extensive regions of 
old lake deposits on the shores of Tanganyika itself ; while 

3i8 to the mountains OF THE MOON. 

they reappear on the plains south of the Albert Edward 
Nyanza. They are to be found again in patches mixed 
up with the true forest, all along the course of the Semliki 
valley, and on the shores of the Albert Nyanza. They 
are further to be found on old lake deposits and alluvial 
flats in some parts of Uganda ; and I am informed that 
they are also a characteristic feature of many portions of 
the West Coast of Africa, and of the hinterlands beyond it. 

Park-lands, districts having the peculiar characteristics of 
a kept park, thus cover immense areas in the African 
interior. They cover, as a matter of fact, thousands upon 
thousands of square miles, and the more closely we examine 
them the more curious and perplexing their existence 

We have indeed only to look for an instant at a district 
such as that to which I have alluded on the Upper Shir6 
river, in order that a variety of questions shall present 
themselves which are all more easily put than answered. 
In the first place, why have these districts assumed the 
characters of an artificial park ? Why are the trees isolated 
as if they had been grown for show ? Why is there no 
thick bush covering the ground, converting the whole place 
into a thick jungle ? Why are there so many different 
sorts of trees ? 

If we meet with a park in England, the mere fact of 
its existence implies the present or past operations of a 
park-keeper or a landscape gardener, who was not only an 
agent independent of the natural environment of forest 
trees, but who was also an intelligent nian, in that he had 
the bushes and the brambles cleared and kept off the 
lawns, in which he planted great trees and little trees, so 
that their limbs and foliage could grow luxuriantly and be 
seen. Moreover, in England, when such a park has been 



once formed by the agency of man, it is absolutely neces- 
sary that the operations of the gardener should go on and 
continue, or the park will inevitably and quickly lose its 
artificial character. Thorns and briars and bushes will 
quickly spring up upon the grass, and in a few years the 
park will have gone back again to what we are accustomed 
here to regard as a state of nature ; or, in other words, it 
will have become converted into a trackless waste of old 
and young forest. In England or Europe a park-land is 
thus an artificial product, and is an impossibility, unless 
there is someone ready and willing to hold the natural 
tendencies of the vegetation in check. In tropical Africa, 
on the other hand, precisely the same arboreal arrangement 
is produced, but no human agency has had anything to do 
with it ; and the existence of these natural park-lands 
presents us with a ready-made and an extraordinary puzzle 
which it is interesting to try to understand. 

In attempting to account for the appearance of park- 
lands, the most natural supposition to make is of course that 
of inequality of dampness or character of the soil, which is 
sufficient to allow some kinds of trees to grow in one place, 
some in another, and grass in between ; but although this 
view of the matter looks very nice and promising at first 
sight, its value is absolutely destroyed by the facts of the 
case. I have on several occasions when in a park-land set 
my men to trench and dig in different directions, and then 
examined the soil, with the result that I could find no 
difference whatever either in its dampness or its con- 
sistency, at least any that it was possible to correlate with 
the different plants that grew upon it. In the soil under a 
great clump of acacias there was as little moisture, and it 
was of the same consistency, as that upon which there was 
nothing but a scanty covering of grass ; neither can 



difference of climate or rainfall be invoked. Park-lands 
occur in the Semliki valley, where it is very wet, and also 
on the Albert Edward plains, where it is very dry. 

From general observations, however, it soon becomes 
apparent that park-lands are by no means distributed hap- 
hazard over the surface of the country ; they never occur, 
for example, on hill sides or upon rocky ground. They are 
invariably found upon alluvial plains like those formed by 
rivers, or upon old lake deposits ; that is, they invariably 
occur on flats made up either of blown sand or of ground of 
aqueous origin ; but although they are thus invariably 
related to flats of the above sorts, this fact at first sight 
perhaps makes the whole matter more perplexing still, for 
such flats are by no means invariably covered with parks. 
l‘hus there are wide districts on the Semliki flats which are 
covered with heavy forest, and there are similar alluvial 
areas covered with heavy forest only along the Zambesi 
river, and indeed in many places elsewhere. What can it 
be, then, which in some places inaugurates and maintains a 
natural African park ? This question is a great puzzle, and 
the answer to it is not at all apparent upon the surface of 
things. In fact, I have sat for months in these regions 
looking at their strangely artificial aspect, until I became 
filled with a sort of impotent wrath ; for do what I would, I 
could find no satisfactory explanation of the very peculiar 
features which they present. What, however, I have every 
reason to believe to be a clue to the whole matter, was 
obtained during my visit to the Albert Nyanza. On that 
journey I descended from the western slopes of the 
Mountains of the Moon on to the plains of the great central 
valley, which I crossed diagonally until I reached the lake 
itself. On this series of marches we passed off the 
mountain slopes on to plains of alluvium and old lake 

(i.) Shore of the Albert Nyaiiza with reeds and a few young- euphorbias springing up. ( 2 .) The euphorbias form a spot of 
shadow in which more delicate plants surv'ive. (3.) Euphorbias becoming buried in the bush -which they originally 
sheltered. (4.) The euphorbias choked with bush, and the formation of typical park lands. The figures run from right 
to left. 



deposit, in which there are the remains of fresh water 
shells, similar to those which still live in the lake itself ; and 
from this, it is obvious that the lake once extended over 
these regions, which are now covered with thick forest of 
different sorts. As we neared the lake we passed out of 
the forests, first into park-lands and then over steppes, 
with only a very few trees, and finally on to the absolutely 
treeless salt wastes bordering the shores of the Albert 
Nyanza. We were travelling over the old lake deposits all 
the way, and the shelly remains became fresher and fresher, 
until we actually reached the shores of the lake itself. 
Further on the western shores of the lake we found old 
watermarks and beaches, which show in as conclusive a 
manner as the old lake deposits and shells to the south that 
the lake has steadily fallen and receded to the north during 
a number, but an unknown number of years. From this it 
will be obvious that in our marches from the Mountains of 
the Moon to the shores of the Albert Nyanza, we were 
passing over land which had been covered with water at a 
more and more reccflt date, and conversely, as we returned 
over the road we had come, we were passing over land 
which had been land for a longer and longer time owing to 
the gradual northern recession of the lake. The difference 
in the character of the vegetation encountered during the 
progress of this journey has been represented in the figure 
on page {321), which is a combination in sequence of a 
number of drawings and photographs of the kinds of 
vegetation through which we passed. By the lake shore 
there was a belt of reeds, and beyond this almost desert 
salt steppes, over which the fierce tro^jical sun blazed 
without any protection for many hours during the day. In 
such places the noon-day heat is fearful, and the men on 
this particular occasion, as is often the case on exposed 


plains near the equator, were hardly able to walk with their 
bare feet on the hot ground. The surface of the earth was 
desiccated and sandy, but a few inches below there was an 
appreciable amount of moisture, due to the occasional 
storms which sweep over these plains, and disappear almost 
as quickly as they form. Nothing but grass grew near the 
lake, and even this evidently had a very bad time, for it 
was scraggy and white, and bleached and alternated with 
patches of absolutely bare sandy soil. On these plains 
there were, however, in places scattered over the surface of 
the ground, a few young euj)horbia trees, the seeds of 
which had evidently been disseminated by the wind or 
birds over the plains ; and as these hardy plants grew 
bigger on the older land further from the lake shore, I 
noticed that in the hot glare of the noon their massive 
structures threw a small patch of deep cool shadow round 
their feet. Further away from the lake, where the land 
was older and the euphorbia had consequently had time to 
grow proportionately bigger, the noon-day spot of shade 
had also correspondingly incre'ased, and in the area of such 
shadow there were to be found a variety of plants besides the 
grass, which here found protection from the fiery glare and 
heat, and were consequently able to grow. Among these 
plants, struggling under the euphorbia shadows to with- 
stand the adverse conditions of the plains, there were thorn 
trees, climbing plants, and flowering shrubs, and when once 
these plants had in this manner got a footing on the plains, 
they prospered like one of Germany’s protected industries, 
and throve amazingly ; so much so indeed that on land that 
was still further from the lake, and consequently still older, 
the thorns and bushes of various sorts were enveloping the 
euphorbias, which now appeared as rather choked growths 
in the centre of the bushy patches. Further away again 



from the lake there were many clumps of bushes and trees 
scattered in all directions over the country ; and in many 
of these there were still to be found the dead or dying 
remains of the original euphorbia, to the protection of which 
the bush patch owed its growth. The seven lean kine had, 
as a matter of fact, here eaten up the seven fat kine, and in 
such districts we entered the typical scenery of an African 

Once started, the groups of trees and patches of bush 
which marked the graves of their former benefactors, the 
euphorbias, spread gradually under the protection of their 
own shadows, until finally the patches ran together and 
more or less coalesced into the ragged forest which covers 
the higher portions of these long alluvial slopes. 

It will be obvious that we have thus, in the simple 
natural dispersion and growth of euphorbias over desert 
steppes and in their mode of growth, a completely satis- 
factory explanation of bush patches, park-land, and finally 
of real forest ; the process of their formation being a 
natural sequence of events following ujDon the scattering, 
through the agency of the wind or birds, of the seeds of a 
single tree. 

The appearance of a park-land is thus seen also to be one 
phase in a series of changes which follow the retreat and 
drying up, or the change in position, of water on the face of 
the land. And further, it appears to be as true of the 
natural park as of the artificial one, that unless it is kept up 
it must, in the course of time, disappear and become con- 
verted into more or less thick forest, for the appearance of a 
park, as we have seen, is simply the expression of pro- 
gressive physical change. There appears to be no agency 
except a park-keeper which is capable of maintaining a, 
park ; and perhaps the most singular, at any rate the most 


interesting, thing which the foregoing observations teach 
us, is that the African parks are absolutely impermanent, 
and are in reality direct and incontestable evidence in 
themselves of widespread physical changes in the lands on 
which they exist. 

As a matter of fact, when a lake contracts within its own 
bed, or the positions of its shores are changed by other 
means, the exposed floors of mud and alluvium become first 
desert steppes, then steppes covered with grass and young 
euphorbias, then plains covered with euphorbias and bushy 
patches of trees, then park-lands, and finally complete 
forest. In the case of the Albert Nyanza, these different 
sorts of countries are arranged round the lake in successive 
zones, and are thus evidence which is incontestable, that the 
lake has receded not suddenly but gradually towards the 
north. But not only is the existence of a park-land 
evidence of recent change in any district in which it may 
occur, it is also indicative of change in one particular 
direction — that is, of the gradual drying up and shrinking 
of whatever lakes and open waters the district may possess. 
Hence the almost universal distribution of park-lands all 
over Central Africa is clearly indicative of one of two 
things : cither the rainfall is becoming less over the whole 
of the equatorial regions, or the land is being gradually 
moved, and changed, and shifted, in such a manner that 
the water on it is being drained off the interior as a whole. 
There is no evidence of any decrease in the rainfall ; and 
therefore we are driven to conclude that the existence of 
these extensive parks must be due to movements and 
shifting in the watersheds and the general configuration of 
the land. Now, the onlv direction in which earth move- 
ments on a slow and extensive scale could effect this 
draining is by that of a gradual raising and humping up of 



the interior; and it is extremely interesting to find thus 
that the study of the features of natural parks leads exactly 
to the same conclusion respecting the impermanence of the 
terrestrial conditions of the interior that were indicated by 
the geological and physiographical considerations which I 
discussed in the last chapter. 

These physical considerations, although they show that 
change has taken place, and, as we saw, through the 
presence of trees in the water of Nyassa, and from the 
fresh shells that Jire now elevated above Tanganyika, 
that these changes were still going on, do not afford 
any indication as to how fust such physical changes 
may be ] progressing at the present time. The relation of 
euphorbias to park-lands could, however, be made to throw 
direct light on this matter. Euphorbias, like other trees, 
have a definite average rate of growth, and if this average 
rate of growth were ascertained, we could speak with more 
or certainty about the time occupied by the changes 
which have brought into existence any particular park. 
Unfortunately, thd average rate of growth of these trees is 
not now known, but it would be quite well worth some- 
body’s while to find it out, since, if we knew it, we -should 
at once have a means of measuring the rate of progress 
of the extraordinary physical changes which are proceeding 
in Central Africa at the present time. 



“ And the end of it’s sitting and thinking, 

And dreaming hell fires to see.** 

— Rudyard Kipling. 

We have, then, been the round in the foregoing chapters, 
all the way from the steaming swamp lands of the Zambesi 
Valley northwards, through the Nyassa region, through 
that of Tanganyika, of Kivu, over the huge Mfumbiro 
mountains, through the great game plains south of the 
Albert Edward Nyanza, up the west coast of that lake and 
then away north of it, until at last we got out among 
the rocks, and the snow, and the high peaks, and the 
glaciers, of the sublime Mountains of thfi Moon. We have 
now turned east again, we have traversed the endless hills 
and papyrus swamps of Uganda, we have crossed the long 
oily swell of the great Victoria Nyanza, among its innumer- 
able islands, until we climbed out of the lake depression 
across the great Moa plateaux, ten thousand feet up in the 
air. We have crossed the lesser eastern African trough, 
south of Lake Beringo and Mount Elgon, and have reached 
the long eastern slope of the continent. We have reached 
another of the great octopus-like arms of civilization, and 
are sliding down the long incline of the Uganda railway. 
We have passed the wild snowy peaks of Kenyia away to 
the north, and we are finally rumbling along through 
illimitable yellow plains, with the superb and lonely dome of 



Kilimanjaro rising, blue and white and beautiful, away to 
the south. The journey is finished, and the end of it is 
sitting and thinking very much indeed ; and so, lest this 
process should go on to the undesirable imaginings which 
are described as having afflicted the unfortunate soldier 
referred to in the lines which I have chosen for the head of 
this chapter, I have determined, at the imminent risk of 
offending a great number of people for whom I have the 
greatest esteem, to sketch briefly, but unreservedly, the 
opinion which I have been able to form of the great interior 
wastes as a whole. Our two journeys were particularly well 
adapted to this end ; they covered an immense area of the 
equatorial continent, they lay through those higher interior 
portions which are unquestionably the best of it, and be- 
tween the first and the second expedition there was a con- 
siderable lapse of time. Our actual journeyings in the 
interior, now 1 come to think of it, have occupied some 
three years. During their course we were not looking for 
any prospective loaves which the country might present ; 
we were, as a matter of fact, concerned chiefly with a few 
small fishes. We were there without the missionary’s faith 
in the black, or the faith of the administrator and trader in 
the inherent worth of his adopted country, and we had 
therefore no personal axe to grind, the sharpening of which 
might have interfered with any opinions we formed of the 
place and the people that were in it. In dealing with 
these two things, the people and their continent, perhaps 
the man comes naturally first ; and there is not the slightest 
doubt that the question of this filthy, unsavoury individual 
is in every way a fearful one. He has not only all the 
above characteristics and a good many more which make 
him, in the literally true sense of the words, horribly funny, 
but he is also in possession of the soil ; and last, but not 


least, he is regarded by the majority of Europeans, not only 
as a man, but also as at least something like a brother. It 
is in this latter brotherly character that, as I pointed out 
in the first chapter of this book, the African native is so 
profoundly instructive, and in some respects such a very 
unpleasant object lesson for civilized man. Everyone admits 
that this brother of ours has, as the missionaries have never 
been weary of pointing out, many of those very human 
attributes which people in general affect to admire. He 
has none of the cringing false humility of the Indian coolie, 
he is no such extraordinary cross between a cowed dog and 
Uriah Heep. To a large extent he is, moreover, honest, 
and in the best sense of that term, for he is neither afraid 
of his own beliefs nor of the practical consequences to 
which they may lead him. He is, for example, firmly con- 
vinced that his womenkind are a nuisance, only to be pro- 
vided for on account of their personal charms, and because 
they can cook his food and dig in his gardens. He is 
therefore no votary of the peculiarly angelic characters of 
the female soul ; to the black man as to a latter product of 
civilization, recently described by a modern poet, “ A woman 
is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.” He has 
next to no superstitions, not half so many as the ordinary 
white man ; at any rate, they never lead him to devote any 
portion of his leisure at all comparable to that devoted by 
Europeans to the building and maintenance of the temples 
of their different religions. He has a curiously hard-headed 
habit of judging the value of things entirely by their 
practical results, and in consequence he does not believe, 
from a mundane point of view, that the extensive building 
of temples is good business. He believes to a certain 
extent in ghosts, in the ghosts of his ancestors, and he 
believes in the supernatural powers of certain evilly dis- 



posed women. , To propitiate the former, he builds little 
houses about as big as a beehive, and in these he places 
from time to time a small morsel of food ; but if his 
ancestors’ ghosts, when thus habilitated, do not make his 
worldly affairs prosper, he ceases to feed them altogether. 
To escape from the latter he uses much more drastic 
remedies, either poisoning the woman who has fixed him 
with an evil eye, or beating her with a stick, which is often 
a good deal thicker than that of a less diameter than a 
man’s thumb, which it appears is still allowed by the 
English law for the purpose of wife-beating. 

He is firmly convinced that the ways of the universe are 
dark and arbitrary, that the gods are as hard to reconcile as 
they have appeared to many nineteenth century European 
thinkers, and, like them, he consequently believe^ that the 
less one has to do with the powers that be, the more time 
he will have for lying on his back in the sun, for hunting, 
and talking at the top of his voice, and for the conduction 
of his own worldly affairs. In fact, he naturally exactly 
attains to that positiomof laboured agnosticism which was so 
forcibly put by Huxley, when he described the course of his 
own intellectual efforts as having “ led nowhere but into the 
wild depths of a dark and tangled forest.” The native, 
however, does not need to wander away from the beaten 
tracks of civilization in order to get into this wood ; he is 
there already, both in fact and in fancy, nor does he have to 
consider what in his worldly experience he can liken to the 
lions and the leopards in a certain path. Both are there in 
actuality, and ever ready with tooth and claw to shriek 
against any soft-fashioned theory of the universe. Living 
as he does, and endowed with the peculiar mental attributes 
which I have just described, the native is a strange cast- 
iron man,' as much stronger in his mental attributes than 




the ordinary missionary (who, through a grim ironical 
humour in things, goes out to teach him) as he is in his 
hard, bronzed body. There is a story of a typical African 
chief, which I have heard attributed to Ketimkuru himself, 
but to whomsoever it did refer, it is very characteristic 
of the native mind. Some missionaries came into his 
country, and the naked old king, covered with charms 
against ghosts, and with and ivory bangles for 
ornament, sent for the strangers and enquired why they had 
journeyed into his territory ; they told him that they had 
come to teach the black people about the white man’s God, 
and that they wanted to build a school, in which to teach 
the children the way they should go. The king, however, 
made certain enquiries before he would allow any change 
in the established order of things, and he was singularly 
practical in his ideas. 

He asked them in the first place whether, if his people 
learned about the God of the Europeans, the inherent evil 
in things would begin to depart ? Whether the rain would 
fall in due season ? and whether his ^people would still be 
afflicted with many forms of hideous disease ? The mission- 
aries could not assure him on these points ; whereupon the 
king replied that he saw no use in the new teaching, and 
they had better depart. 

With the native, as with the typical European of the 
nineteenth century, it is, in every way and in everything, a 
matter of pounds, shillings, and pence. He is what we call 
practical and philosophically negative, not as a result of a 
prolonged and expensive education, but because he has the 
immense natural advantage of being born so. In other 
words, he has by nature those very mental attributes which 
it has been the fate of the most acute European intellects, 
after centuries of labour, to attain. Like these more 



thoughtful Europeans, the native has also in a high degree 
a natural incapacity for exhibiting any faith, as it is under- 
stood in an ecclesiastical sense. He looks at things as 
they are, and is. entirely without that peculiar mental 
attribute, faith, which enables untrained civilized Europeans 
to believe those things which, in the absence of it, would 
be quite incredible. 

But besides being thus a serious and most intensely 

Omarii on his way home. 

interesting object lesson for agnostic thought, the native is 
no less interesting from a social point of view. As he is 
agnostic by nature, it is perhaps not wonderful that in his 
social arrangements he has already long since almost com- 
pletely anticipated those very ideals which the advanced 
thought of to-day seems to be desirous of seeing introduced 
once more into our own place and time ; for the native is 
not only, completely up-to-date in his negative philosophy, 
but he is also socialistic. In most native communities the 

21 * 



land belongs to the people, and these communities have 
actually realized that acme of some socialistic aspirations, 
of having the people on the land. Politically he is not 
ruled by hereditary despots, but by the great heart of his 
tribe, the chief having, except as a spokesman, and a figure- 
head, and a referee in cases of internal disputes, very little 
power indeed. There is no difference in social condition, 
and certainly very little extravagance in the mode of life of 
the [jeople ; the individual units making up the tribe live 
in filthy huts on the ground, and so does the king. They 
spend nothing on useless luxur)'^ ; they are, in fact, almost 
as absolutely without clothing as Du Maurier wished that all 
European people were. Finally, their morality is also of a 
particularly advanced type, and their ethics closely resemble 
those advocated by Mr. Grant Allen, and which were 
described by Madame Grand as being similar to the ethics 
of the poultry yard. They are by no means afflicted by long 
hours or over work ; they are not even burdened with an 
eight hours’ day, two hours’ gardening in the morning being 
sufficient to produce food enough for fi whole family. It has 
long appeared to me, therefore, that instead of teaching the 
black to become a loafer in breeches, we ourselves might do 
a good deal worse than go and study the black ; and there- 
fore I am always minded to cry out, as I did in the initial 
chapter of this book, iigainst the wanton destruction of 
these people ; for they are the only existing relics of that 
time when all people lived in a state of nature, a condition 
which many enlightened thinkers, Rousseau among them, 
have affected to admire. 

Turning now from the black man himself to the question 
of the black man’s country, we must remember that, as 
Stanley so well said, there hangs still over the dark interior 
the glamour and the charm of mystery, which makes the 



place inevitably attractive to many sorts of men. Thus, 
quite apart from the possible commercial value of these 
countries, almost anyone who is young enough and strong 
enough would throw whatever he might have in hand down 
and rush off there, whenever he got the chance. I should 
do so myself now, sport-loving men of every sort would, 
as well as the soberer kinds of travellers, for the African 
interior is still a wonderful place, and, as an instrument of 
culture for all sorts of people, far superior to any university. 
It would, as Mr. Grogan so aptly expresses it, even do 
untold good to acrid females, if they could be induced to go 
there. But the question with which we have just now to 
deal is not whether Central Africa can be used as a sort of 
dumping hospital for the neurotically afflicted, but rather 
whether it i^resents anything in the way of lands which are 
salubrious enough and rich enough to make it possible its a 
future seat of European colonization. It has, of course, 
been held, I believe it generally is held, that such is in 
reality the case ; that once beyond the ^unhealthy, 
the elevated interior ft high etxough and cool enough for 
European people to go and live there among their planta- 
tions and their flocks and herds. We have all read Sir 
Harry Johnstone’s description of Blantyre and the Shird 
Highlands, and of the extreme civilized prosperity and 
delight of everybody there. We have also read Mr. Scott 
Elliot’s wonderful statement that young Scotchmen can go 
and grow coffee there, and after a few years return with a 
competence for life. And when we read these things, and 
then go out and look at these places as they are now, we 
can, I think, only feel unmixed admiration for the artistic 
faculty and literary skill which has woven so many beauti- 
ful dreani^ round the present and the future of countries 
which have, and have in an obtrusive manner, the baleful 


attributes of a cemetery. With respect to the fortunes 
which are said to be waiting there for young men to go 
and pick up, it is equally’ delightful to find that sober- 
minded people, like my friend Mr. Scott Elliot, can have 
confidence in these things, as it is irrefragable evidence of 
the truth of the beautiful old adage, that “ Hope springs 
eternal in the human breast.” 

But to return to our own particular investigations, it may 
be remembered that on the present journey we entered 
Africa through the mouth of the Zambesi river in a 
profound morass ; that we journeyed for hundreds of miles 
through what a schoolboy would call unmitigated and 
unsavoury splodge ; that the jieople hereabout died, and had 
died, and that their successors died again ; that a malarial 
commission was .sitting on the subject of their deaths, and 
that instead of the malarial commission settling the “ fever 
bugs,” the same redoubtable parasites nearly settled the 
malarial commission. 

Later on in our journey we came to a hilly country 
covered with stunted trees ; we reached, in fact, the Shir6 
Highlands, in which there is much rock, and the country, 
from being composed of universal splodge, becomes a 
country diversified with rocks which stick up out of splodge. 

From this region we went for many days through 
marshes and morasses unspeakable, holding our noses and 
blaspheming until we came to Lake Nyassa, where almost 
everyone was dead that I had met there on my former ex- 
pedition. We here entered a beautiful warm lake region, 
surrounded with shore swamps fringed with mountains, so 
steep and so rugged that on crossing the swamps in any 
direction we were immediately confronted with austere 
precipices. We got out on the top of these on the way to 
Tanganyika, and found ourselves in a succession of arid, 



leafless wildernesses, covered with European graves, and 
sans everything in the way of either comfort or necessity. 
And then again we descended into the valley of Tanganyika 
itself. On the shores of the lake people have died, are 
dying, and will die ; they go on, or rather they go off, 
there actually faster than they do in the Nyassa region. 
The English lament their comrades, who as they say are 
planted all about the place, the Belgians do the same, and 
the Germans follow suit. 

After leaving Tanganyika wc ascended once more and 
came into the curious Kivu land, high and cool and 
charming as a work of art, but of the health of which no 
tale has yet been told, except the authenticated death of a 
German sergeant, who had lived up there, 5,000 feet in the 
air, for more than a year before he departed, seized with 
blackwater fever, the worst type of African fever that 
there is. 

Beyond Kivu there are the long fiery plains south of the 
Albert Edward Nyanza, and north of this again, and once 
more rising out of pfofound splodge, there are the towering 
and isolated ranges of the Mountains of the Moon. Still 
north of these there are the vast unexplored, unmapped 
swamp wastes of the Upper Nile, but which, wherever 
they have been cro.ssed, are described as dancing with 
heat and literally humming with millions of mosquitoes. 
Eastward again, we have the questionable entity of 
Uganda, and westward the gradual descent into the 
endless Congo swamps. 

Nowhere in this vast interior, along any of the thousands 
of miles of route over which I have travelled, have I ever 
come across any places at all comparable to the very worst 
districtgjn New Zealand or the Far West of America. 

When low, the country is enervating, fever stricken, and 


hot ; when high, wild, changeable, and wet. Can anyone 
who has been in Equatorial Africa name a single place 
anywhere, where he would like to go and live, and where 
he thinks he could make farming pay in any other sense 
than that of providing him with food stuffs until he died of 

We hear of course of merchants, and agents, and 
residents of various sorts in the interior, in Uganda for 
example ; but with the exception of the departed ivory 
trade, what have the dreary storm-swept plains and 
steaming lake shores of this place ever produced that 
would pay to send even as far as the head of the railway ? 
There is nothing. The agents and the merchants live by 
providing for the needs of the members of the European 
governments, which “ cherish the black,” the missionaries 
who teach him, and the travellers who come to look at 
him ; but out of the place where all this cherishing and 
teaching and observation goes forward, there comes 
absolutely nothing of a paying kind. 

I have no quarrel with the now* much administered 
native ; he is, as I have said, being converted at enormous 
expense and trouble, from being a charming relic of the 
past, into a pauperised fool, and this, for all I know, may 
be the thing at which an enlightened civilization ought to 
aim. What I am not so sure .about is, whether, if the 
results of the process were understood by the European 
publics who pay for it, there would be much chance of its 
going on. 

People have, however, sublime faith in the African 
interior ; so much so that, even if its health and its climate 
turn out not to be what they should be, they feel confident 
that at the worst there will be minerals. Faith unquestion- 
ing can work marvels ; it has been said that it is strong 



enough to move mountains, but judging from what I have 
seen, and from the reports of others, I am convinced that 
this is the sort of work it will have to do, in Equatorial 
Africa, before we get at the minerals, for they are not 
generally apparent on the surface. 

This curious faith which exists respecting the value of 
the Equatorial African interior as a colonial asset is not, 
however, difficult to understand. We have only to study 
the history of our knowledge of Africa to see how in all 
Ijrobability its existence has been brought about. 

There is the old story of the West Coast gold coming as 
it did from a country that was known to be vast, but of 
which nothing more was known. 

There was then the development of South Africa, and 
the discovery there by white people of a country with a 
climate more beautiful and more salubrious perhaps than 
that of any other part of the world. In the more remote 
hinterlands of the south there were ultimately found gold 
and diamonds, and the sleepy colqnies woke up into a 
roaring prosperity bnly equalled by that of the Australian 
and Californian gold centres. 

Still further inland there lay the vast interior under the 
tropics, the coasts of which were known to be hot and 
unhealthy, but inland the continent was found to be well 
watered and high ; it was teeming with game and it was 
filled with mystery. Altitude brings back the chill of 
temperate climates even under the equator, and therefore it 
is hardly to be wondered at if the people of Europe 
regarded the vast African interior as a promised land. 
Unfortunately, however, as we have too much reason to 
know, altitude does not repeat the conditions of latitude. 
The climate about the snow-line on the Mountains of the 
Moon is as cold as that of a London January, but it is very 


far indeed from being in any way the same. The corre- 
spondence is between the temperature only ; in other ways 
it is merely superficial, and not real. 

The dream, however, has borne fruit ; European civiliza- 
tion is going to force its way into the hot dark forests and 
the bare scorched steppes of the interior. We are going to 
spend millions on one more huge gamble, and we shall see 
what the bubble of the interior will bring forth. It is, after 
all, the unexpected which often happens ; the result is in 
the hands of time. Civilization, sitting in its European 
capitals, believes in the possibility of opening up the interior 
as a paying concern, and it may therefore be not without 
use, or without interest, to record the fact that there were 
certain obscure travellers who had not remained at home, 
but had wandered through the interior, far and wide, and 
knew much of it quite well at the end of the nineteenth 
century, but who were not of that opinion. 

Nearing the East Coast of the Victoria Nyanza. 





Africa, Author’s opinion of CcMitral, 329. 

,, , Central Mountains, chain of, 314. 

,, , European faith in, 338. 

African Continent, the form of, 312. 

,, interior, description of, 337. 

,, travel, cultural value of, 245. 

,, ,, , instrument of education, 


Albert Edvvartl, fauna in, 309. 

,, ,, , first sijrht of, 217. 

,, ,, , shrinkage of, 222. 

,, >» j walk on the shore of, 258. 

,, ,, plains, age of the, 222. 

,, ,, ,, , game on the, 227. 

Albert Nyanza and Southern lalAis, 218. 

,, ,, , fauna in, 309. 

„ ,, , receding, 323. 

,, ,, , shrinkage of, 222. 

Antiquity, remains of, 9. 

Anthills, 71. 

Ants, white, 68. 

,, ,, , immense numbers of, 72. 

Arab, Bin Sef Rachid the, 140. 

,, town of Ujiji, 138. 


Banana, plantations, 154. 

liangweolo, 64. 

Bass, catching, 112. 

Bin Sef’s measure, 151. 

Birds, clouds of, on Nyassa, 56. 

,, of regular habits, 91. 

Blantyre, 24, 335. 

„ , coffee at, 24. 

Blantyre, detestalde place, 25. 

,, , health of, 25. 

„ to Nyassa, 43. 

Boat, old at ICituta, 93. 

,, man’s song, 95. 

„ tinkering, 93. 

,, capsi/x’fl, 269. 

Boatmen, bean -fed on Kivu, 244. 

British Central Africa protectorate, 25 

Butanuka village, 282. 

CAMERON BAY, no, 180. 

Camj) at 7,000 feet, 197. 

,, , highest on Ruwenzori, 306. 

Canoes oij Kivu, 165, 166. 

„ , loss of, 176, 177. 

,, , search for, 178. 

,, sunk, 180. 

Canteen lust, 169. 

Cataracts, Murchison, 23. 

Catwe, 275. 

Central Africa, occupation of, 7. 

,, ,, , unbiassed account of, 8. 

,, ,, , commerce, 338. 

,, ,, , trough, coasts of, 315. 

Central Range, great, 315. 

Chind6, confusion at, 15. 

,, , deiwture from, 16. 

,, , evil reputation of, 12. 

,, , first visit to, 11. 

„ , third visit to, II. 

Cliffs, curious, 175. 

Climate, rapid change in, 218. 

,, of high interior, 339. 

Climb, solitary on Ruwenzori, 306. 



Cloth for tents, 151. 

Clouds, observing, 125. 

,, and mist, 205. 

Coffee planting, 24. 

Colonization by Europeans, 8. 

Commerce, centre of, 108. 

Cone, volcanic, 209. 

Congo Free State, headquarters, 134. 

„ „ „ , officers, 134. 

„ „ „ , stations, 128. 

,, watershed, 64. 

Corpses, land of, 215. 

Cows, Ujiji, 184. 

Crabs, numbers of, 1 3. 

Crocodiles, 84. 

,, , shooting, 18. 

,, , Upper Shir6, 40. 

,, , none in South Albert Edward, 



Dead bodies, 215. 

Desert, anxious march on the, 236. 

,, , lost on the, 235. 

,, , starving village in the, 238, 

Districts, desperate, round Chickwawa, 23. 
,, , German, round Ujiji, 139. 

„ , ghastly, 216. 

„ round Ujiji, good agricultural, 

Dry season, mirsige effects, 120. 

„ „ , Nyassa in, 120. 

,, ,, , Tanganyika in, 120. 

„ „ winds, 123. 

Dug-outs, crossing wide water, 166. 

„ lashed together, 164. 

,, , unpleasant experience in, 175. 


Elephants, 206, 290. 

English as masters, 140. 

Escort, our Soudanese, 158. 

Equatorial climate, running into, 119, 120. 
Euphorbias, 154, 218, 227, 271. 
Europeans, effect of country on, 9. 
Expedition, formation of, 5. 

,, second, motives for, 5. 
Export, nothing pays to, 24, 338. 


„ of the lakes, 309. 

„ of Tanganyika, 90. 

Fever in the interior, 337. 

„ perennially present, 337. 

„ stricken country, impression caused 
by, 13. 

„ , strong measures with, 275. 

P'ish eagles, 256. 

Fishermen on Albert Edward Nyanza, 

Fishing near Nyassa, 45. 

Fishes, blinded, 262. 

,, and fish eagles on Tanganyika, 90. 
,, walking on front fins, 14. 

Flies and frogs, no. 

„ on Nyassa, 49. 

Food, chief refuses to sell, 150. 

„ , longing for vegetable, 246. 

Forests, cutting through, 206, 207. 

,, dense on Ruwenzori, 280, 

„ on Kirungu Cha Gungo, 103, 105. 

,, on Mfumbiro mountains, 197. 

„ sterile, of Northern Rhodesia, 64. 

P'ort George, 270. 

P'ort Jerry, 250. 

Fossils of Tanganyika, 1 54, 

ON, 227, 231, 256, 328. 

,, , Upper Shir6 plains on, 43. 

„ , tame, 256. 

Geological changes, 310. 

„ , old impressions mistaken, 310, 


German camp near Russisi source, 158. 

„ Protectorate, 144. 

Germans in Ujiji, 139. 

Gigantic lobelias and groundsel, 300. 
Glaciers, 301. 

„ on Mountains of the Moon, 278, 
301. 303- 
Goats for food, 208. 

„ and sheep for food, 208. 

Goats on gunboat, 53. 

Gotzen and Mfumbiro, 188. 

GoodNews, cleansing of, 109. 

,, unsavoury, 108. 



Good /Views sioxiingt 109. 

Guides bolt, 239. 

guarded, 197. 

„ shot, 200. 

,, , violent escape of, 200. 

Gunboat on Nyassa, 50. 

„ , goats on, 53. 

Heath forest on Ruwenzori, 296, 297. 

,, trees, 296. 

„ zone, 280. 

Hippopotamus shooting, 44. 

History of mankind, remains of, i. 

ICE CAP, 306. 

Interior of Africa, character of, 336. 
Ishangi, 163, 177. 

Individualities of regions, 6. 

,, of our men, 114. 


,, in Tanganyika, 1. 

Johnstone fort, 45, 46. 

Journey, end of the, 328. 

,, , extent of the, 328. 

,, a night, on Kivu, 178. 

,, a night, through a land sf corpses, 


,, , Zambesi to Tanganika, 73. 

KABUNDA, 104. 

,, , biscuits of, 104. 

,, , courtesy of, 104. 

Kanyangogwe, 301. 

Karema, 126. 

Karisimbi, 198. 

„ , cone of, 188. 

,, , and Sabiin, 19S. 

Karonga, 63. 

Kerendo to Mpimbi, 126. 

Kibogo, the island of, 126. 

Kigoma, beautiful harbour of, 126. 

,, metal workers, 141. 

King-fishers and ospreys, 90. 

Kinyamkolo, start from, 94. 

Kirungu Cha Gungo, 174, 188. 

Kirungu Cha Gungo, active cone, a cold 
night on, 210. 

„ „ „ , arrangement for the 

ascent of, 201. 

,, ,, ,, , crater, rim of, 21 1. 

„ „ „ , first attempt at the 

ascent of, 102. 

,, ,, ,, , fresh start up with 

goats, 208. 

,, ,, ,, , height of active cone, 


)» f» , trying march, 203. 

Kirungu Cha Moto, 198. 

,, smoking, 198. 

Kituta burnt down, 80. 

,, , African Lakes Corporation’s agent 

at, 81. 

,, , Stanley’s picture of, 130. 

,, , trading station at, 80. 

Kivu added to Congo system, 223. 

„ and Albert Edward once connected, 

,, area cut off from Nile, 223. 

„ beautiful coast of, 166. 

„ , coast of precipitous, 175. 

,, , circumnavigated, 185. 

,, , fauna of, 185. 

,, , first sight of, 156. 

„ , freshwater fauna only, 220. 

„ , districts north of, unknown, 5. 

„ , dug-outs on, 163. 

,, , fossils on, 160. 

„ , geological aspects of, 220, 223, 224. 

„ , ,, changes in, 219. 

,, , important role played by the Kivu 
region, 224. 

„ , islands in, 159. 

,, , height above the sea, 219. 

„ , moonlight on, 166. 

„ , outflow of, 218. 

„ overflow into Tanganyika, 224. 

„ shore, western of, 176. 

„ , set out for north of, 163. 

„ , start for, 154. 

„ , storm on, 180. 

„ , village unpleasant on, 182. 
ft I voyage on, 158. 

Kota Kota, harbour of, 55. 




,, , Red salt, 276. 

I,ava country, 196. 

,, streams, 174. 

„ „ recent, 199. 

Lions, locusts and liars, 146. 

Livingstone’s body, 76. 

Luakuga, 130. 

,, , once much larger, 133. 

,, , outlet of Tanganyika, 223. 

,, , shallow, magnificent stream, 


MALARIA. loi. 

Malarial commission, 25, 336. 

Mangrove swamps, 14. 

Ma|)s obtained, 185, 188. 

March by night, 272. 

Marine fauna only in Tanganyika, 309. 
Masswa, 135. 

Mail plateaux, 321. 

Meat, varieties of, 246. 

Metcorolog)' of Central Africa, 123. 
^Ifumbiro mountains, 172, 186, 189. 
Mirage, 120, 123. 

Missionaries, Central Africa, 338. 

,, , French, on Zambesi, 19. 

,, graves deserted, 89. , 
Mission, ill-fated, of Karama, 126. 

,, sUitions and forts north of 
Nyassa, 60. 

,, , white fathers, iiS, 126. 

Mlangi mountains, 28. 

Mlelos, 110. 

Morass on Albert Kdward, 266. 

Molmko river, 282, 288. 

Mcebius snow peak, 286. 

Molluscs in Tanganyika, 3. 

Moonlight on Kivu, 166. 

Mountains of the Moon, altitude reached 
‘ on, 307. 

,, ,, , ascent, 281. 

„ „ , first sight of, 279. 

„ „ , glaciers on, 301, 


„ ,, , moraines on, 302. 

,, „ , superb views, 

291, 301. 

Mosquitoes on Zamliesi, 19. 

Msambri, 114. 

,, , fishing at, 1 14. 

Mloa, headquarters of Congo Free State, 


Murchison, Sir Roderic’s, views, 31 1. 

334 - 

„ Ixiliefs, 330. 

,, children of the hour, 243. 

,, , condition of, 8. 

,, customs, unpleasant, 244. 

,, east of Kivu thieves, 169. 

,, dances, 71. 

„ degenerating, 9. 

,, , effects of civilisation on, 10. 

,, destruction of, the wanton, 334. 
,, fate of, 9. 

,, fishing, no. 

,, curious fishing, 263. 

,, method of fishing, 148. 

„ gorging, 246. 

,, hut horrible, 216. 

,, and raw meat, 232. 

„ , reflections on his characteristics, 


,, shyness, 225, 242. 

„ , soLial arrangements of, 333. 

„ , starving, 192. 

,, superstition, 331 

,, unable to catch game, 232. 

,, of Vichumbi good-looking, 232. 

,, workers in metal, 141. 

Ngornwimbi, 286, 299, 300, 301, 302. 
Niggers better than they should be, 117. 
Nigger wandering, 194. 

Night alann, 200. 

„ march, 272. 

Nile, shrinkage of, 223. 

Northern Rhodesia, jssthetic value of, 72. 

,, ,, compared to German 

territory, 72. 

„ ,, importance of, 108. 

„ ,, , sterile forests of, 64. 

North again, 172. 

,, , off to the mysterious, 154. 
Nyamkolo valley, 84. 



Nyaniwamba river, 279. 

,, valley, 280. 

Nyassa, animals in, 3. 

,, , beautiful scenery of, 48, 55. 

,, birds, clouds of, 56. 

,, , character of, 5 5. 

,, , chasm of, 55. 

,, , clear atmosphere of, 56. 

,, , climate of high plateau round, 59. 

,, , depth of, 54. 

,, , dry season on, 120. 

,, extension of flanking mountains, 53# 
,, , first view of, 46. 

,, flies, clouds of, on, 59. 

,, , gales on, 49. 

,, , goats nearly drowned on, 53. 

,, , harbour on West coast of, 55. 

,, , Kota Kota hariiour on, 55. 

,, lake, 46. 

,, , ocean-like swell on, 48. 

,, , rainy season on, 56. 

,, , slave trade on, 55, 

,, , south end of, 47. 

,, trough, 54. 

,, , wood station on, 48. 


Omari and <ither men, 1 14. 

Omari Kidogo, 114. 


Parklands, clue to mystery, 320. 

,, , indicative of change, 328. 

,, , problem of, 318, 320, 326. 

,, round Shirwa, 317. 

,, upper Shire plains, 43. 

,, south of All)ert Nyanza, 225. 

,, widely distributed, 316, 317, 


Pelicans, 262, 266. 

Plains, bounded by mountain walls, 155. 

,, , north of Kivu, 218. 

,, , desert, south of Albert Edward 

Nyanza, 227. 

Plantations of bananas, 154. 

Plateaux, climate on, 59. 

* ,, , dust on, 68. 

,, , general remarks on, 72. 

Plateaux, rains on, 67. 

Porters, Abercorn scarcity of, 74 
„ at Ujiji, 140. 

,, , desertion of, 161, 162. 

„ , engaging, 163. 

,, , murdered, 194. 

,, , wandering hal)its of, 168. 

<)UICnWI, 176. 

,, mountains, 165. 

Ridge, great central, 63. 

Road from Blantyre t()/oml)a, 27. 

,, in Central Africa, 63, 

,, from /omba to the Upper Shir^, 40. 
,, , I lie Stevenson, 60, 63. 

Rhodesia, Northern, aesthetic value of, 72. 
,, M » attempt to develop, 


,, ,, , compared with Ger- 

man and Belgian 
territory, 72. 

,, ,, , impoitance of, 108. 

,, ,, , paradise of the imagi- 

nation, 64. 

,, ,, , sterile forests of, 108. 

Roof of the continent, 63. 

Route of the expedition, 7. 

Ruchuru, chief dragged across, 256. 

,, , crossing the, 255. 

„ river, 227, 309. 

Ruisamba lake, 274, 279. 

Rusisi river, 154, 155, 156. 

„ ,, , outlet of Kivu, 218, 223. 

Ruwenzori, awkward place on, 304. 

,, and the Alps, 279. 

„ , altitude reached on, 307. 

,, , ascent by Mr. Bagge’sboy, 28. 

,, , Mr. Baggers excursion, 280. 

,, barriers, outer of, 274. 

„ , bamboo forests on, 293. 

,, , bamboo zone on, 293. 

,, , climb down, 307. 

,, , diflicultics on, 298. 

„ , extent of, 286. 

„ , first view of, 284. 

,, , heath forests on, 296, 279. 




Ruwenzori, ^rlacierson, 27S. 

,, , invisibility of, 264. 

,, , mistaken impressions of, 287. 

,, , provisions for the ascent of, 


,, . persistent rain on, 280. 

,, , rant;e of, 279. 

,, , snow reached on, 307. 

,, , Stuhlmann*s ascent of, 277. 


,, and Karisimbi, 205. 

,, , wonderful view fnmi, 217. 

Sambo, 107. 

,, decamps with two wives, lo 5 . 

,, , Elysium of, 103. 

,, , habit of gettinjf married, 103. 

,, like the devil, loi. 

Sandstone clilTs, 85. 

Scott Elliot and Ruwen/.ori, 274, 278. 

Sea in Central Africa, 3. 

Season wet on Nyassa plateaux, 67. 

Semliki valley, 223. 

,, river, source of, 266. 

Shells in Albert Edward Nyanza, 260. 

,, , marine type in Tanganyika, 2. 

,, and sponges in Tanganyika, 90. 

,, in Kivu, 220. 

,, , Jurassic in Tanganyika, 4. 

Shire highlands, 24, 336. 

,, river, 22. 

,, , swiimps and mountains of, 22. 

Shirwa, dctcstalde island on, 37. 

,, plain, 28. 

,, , dirty shore of, 37. 

,, , fauna of, 3. 

,, , horrors of, 39. 

„ , journey to, 31. 

,, lake, 28. 

,, , locusts and creeping things on, 38. 

,, , mirdge on, 123. 

,, , view from island on, 32. 

Sitchwe, summit of, 303. 

Shooting, African, 22S. 

„ l)ehind Beira, 228. 

,, , character of African, 228. 

,, crocodiles, 17. 

„ , some funny practice in, 240. 

Shooting hartebeests, 232. 

,, hippoptHomi, 44. 

,, , stories of the early days of, 231. 

Shujyango, 19. 

Semliki river, 265, 309. 

Somalis like children, 115. 

Songs, native, 243, 244. 

Speke, 139. 

Sponges in Tanganyika, 90. 

SiKw reached on Ruwenzori, 304, 307. 
Stanley, 138. 

,, and Livingstone, 129. 

Station deserted, 263. 

Stevenson road, 60, 63. 

Storm, 180. 

,, , on the Allierl Edward Nyanza, 272. 

,, , breakfast after the, lOi. 

,, clouds and sunsets, 71. 

,, , formation of, 124. 

,, , Massw^a, at, 136. 

„ , Mtoa, at, 133. 

,, , landing after, 98. 

,, , prophecy of a, 94. 

,, , Tanganyika, on, 96, 97. 

,, , thunder, terrific, 204. 

Steamer, condition of, 1 18. 

,, , dilapidated, 82. 

,, , engineer of, 80. 

, , Good New \ , 108. 

,, on Tanganyika, 74, 82. 

Streams, African, 27. 

Siuhlmann on Ruwenzori, 277. 

,, 's view of Ruwenzori, 286. 
Sugar plantations, 2I. 

Sultan apologised to, 172. 

,, caught, 182. 

,, , escape of, 190. 

,, , house burnt, 183. 

,, kept prisoner, 170. 

,, punished for murder, 196. 

,, supperless, 170. 

Suhans, country full of, 168. 

Sultana, black, 104. 

Sumbu, 102, 110. 

Sunrise, beautiful, 284. 

„ , cool, 191. 

,, on Ruwenzori, 284. 

,, , equatorial, 178. 



Supreme government, difficulties of, 26. 

^wamp on Albert Edward Nyanza, 266. 

,, , maritime, 13. 

,, , tropical, 266. 

Swamps, 337. 

OE, 219. 

,, y bass, a great in, 98. 

,, , beautiful scene on, 89. 

,, , Ijoat, an old on, 96. 

,, , Committee, composition 

of, 5. 

,, , conglomerates near, 72. 

,, , cfinnection with the 

Congo, 223. 

,, , Congo Free State 

station on, 128. 

,, , country south of, 71. 

,, , cral)s in, 3. 

,, , descent to, 75. 

,, , dry season on, 120. 

,, expedition, scientific 

results of, 6. 

,, , fall m level of, 141. 

,, , fauna of, 90, 310. 

,, , first view of lake, 79. 

,, , fishes, new in* 114. 

,, , former extension of, 


,, , game on plateaux of, 


,, . , gigantic cliffs of, 101. 

,, , height above the sea, 2. 

,, , Jurassic fauna of, 310. 

,, , Kigoma, the best har- 

i)Our on, 141. 

,, , lake, view of, fiom the 

lop of cliffs, 86. 

,, , level of, fallen lately, 


,, , marine fauna of, 310. 

,, , molluscs and other ani- 

mals in, 90. 

,, , mortality on, 337. 

,, mountainous character 

of the land round, 12S. 

Tanganyika, mysterious coast of, 98. 

,, , mystery of, 2. 

,, , navigation on, 127. 

,, , m^rthern extension of, 156. 

,, , north differs from south, 


,, Ollt-floW, 131, 132. 

,, , philosophical reflections on, 


,, , pleasures and pains on, loi. 

,, , prawns in, 3. 

,, , shells and molluscs' in, 2, 4. 

,, , smell, peculiar of, 80. 

,, , song of 1>oatmen on, 95. 

,, , sponges in, 3. 

,, , sipialor on, 87. 

,, , steamer on, 73. 

,, , storm on, 135, 136. 

,, , sublime shores on, 123, 124, 


,, , iiopical thunderslonn on, 


,, , wet se.ison on, 1 20. 

'Farabi 1 k), 151, 154. 

Telegraph, transcontinental, 60. 

,, , God bless \lr. Rhodes and the, 


,, «p().'%ls, 60. 

'Fembwi, lishing and clredging at, 128. 
Thirst, 136. 

Ttiro, 272. 

Transpiirt, arranging with the men, 156. 

,, , Rinn Self’s method of paying 

for, J51. 

,, , ditliculties of, I40, 147. 

Trees, heath, on Mfumbiro, 210. 

Trough Central, 186. 


IJjiji, Burton’s discovery of, 138. 

,, , the one Central African town, 138. 

,, , cattle, herds of, at, 139. 

„ , human bones at, 144. 

„ , German fort at, 139. 

,, , Livingstone and Stanley at, 138. 

,, , memories of the past at, 138. 

,, , roll-call a*, 150. 

,, , start from, 153. 



Ujiji, women good-looking at, 142. 
Usambura, exploration of, 145. 

,, , fishing by night at, 146. 

, inarch to, 153. 

V'olcanic activities, 31 1, 312, 313. 

,, craters, 276. 

,, dam, the great, 219, 222, 223. 
Vc>l canoes far from the sea, 189. 

,, north of Kivu, 188. 

,, seen first, 173. 

\"ichumbi, 248. 

WALL OK (;R 1 :AT VATd.tA , WKST- 
KKN, 263. 

Watei slied of (?eiural Africa, 223. 

Wet season on Nyassa, 120. 

,, ,, Tanganyika, 120. « 

White Fathers want curry powder, 118. 
Wimi river, 282. 

,, ,, , crossing the, 282. 

Winds strange on Ruwenzori, 292. 

ON, 21. 

,, , primeval forest on, 19. 

,, , mist on, 19. 

,, , nioscjuitoes on, 219. 

,, , sugar plantations rm, 21. 

,, , sunrise on, 20. 

Zebras, 228. 

Zomba, to Blantyre from, 27. 

,, , British Central African Protector- 

ate station on, 28. 

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